House passes series of measures hitting Russia, Putin

House passes series of measures hitting Russia, Putin
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The House passed a series of bills on Tuesday meant to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for his country's actions, including a measure condemning the Russian leader and his government for their alleged roles in covering up the 2015 assassination of Putin political opponent Boris Nemtsov.

The package of legislation, all aimed at adding scrutiny on the Russian government, largely passed by voice vote.

The bill concerning Nemtsov's assassination overwhelmingly passed the House, with only one lawmaker — Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran House sends Trump border aid bill after Pelosi caves to pressure from moderates GOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions MORE (R-Ky.) — dissenting.

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“It's been four years since his death, but there's been no proper investigation of his assassination and the cover-up and zero accountability for those responsible — that's certainly an outrage," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran CBC lawmakers rip Justice Democrats for targeting black lawmakers for primaries Justice Democrats issues 3 new endorsements for progressive candidates MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a floor speech ahead of the vote. "This resolution condemns the Kremlin's systematic targeting of its political opponents and calls on the administration to impose sanctions on those responsible for Nemtsov's murder and cover-up.”

Nemtsov, a member of the opposition party who had eyed challenging Putin for the presidency in 2018, was shot and killed in 2015.

Five Chechen men have been charged in his death, but Tuesday’s resolution — introduced by Engel and Foreign Affairs ranking member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) — claims that Russian officials have prevented others responsible for his murder to be charged.

A bill condemning the Russian annexation of Crimea also easily passed the House, with 427 lawmakers supporting the act. Again only Massie voted against it.

Under the legislation, led by Reps. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyFour heated moments from House hearing on conditions at border facilities Ex-ICE chief blasts House Democrat after tense hearing: 'He ran out of there like a little girl' Live coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy MORE (D-Va.) and Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotHouse passes bills to boost small business cybersecurity Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller Parties unite to move Myanmar sanctions bill MORE (R-Ohio), federal departments and agencies are barred from recognizing Russia's annexation of Crimea, which sparked international outrage in 2014.

The House also passed legislation sponsored by Reps. Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiLive coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy Battle lines drawn for Mueller testimony Overnight Health Care: Pelosi to change drug-pricing plan after complaints | 2020 Democrats to attend Planned Parenthood abortion forum | House holds first major 'Medicare for All' hearing MORE (D-Ill.) and Chris StewartChristopher (Chris) Douglas StewartHouse Intel Republican: 'Foolish' not to take info on opponent from foreign ally 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill CBO: Medicare for All gives 'many more' coverage but 'potentially disruptive' MORE (R-Utah) that would instruct the director of National Intelligence to submit three comprehensive assessments on the “political leadership of the Russian Federation” to provide information on potential action against NATO members, potential responses to the expanded role of the U.S. and NATO countries in eastern Europe and potential areas of weakness the Russian government could attempt to capitalize on.

The Trump White House has faced calls from Congress to take more action against Russia, particularly after the nation was determined to have interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Some critics have argued that the president is not as tough on Russia as he should be, but the administration has implemented strict sanctions against Russia and some of its oligarchs since President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE took office.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE has also indicted 12 Russian military officers for the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee, as well as charging several Russian entities with interfering in the 2016 election.