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 MassieGOP lawmaker says newly-released Butina was jailed due to 'Russophobia' O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats Scalise blasts Democratic legislation on gun reforms 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: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation House Democrats pull subpoena for ex-Trump national security official 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 ConnollyOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation House to hold public impeachment hearings next week MORE (D-Va.) and Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotBottom Line Consequential GOP class of 1994 all but disappears Judiciary approves new investigative powers with eyes on impeachment 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 KrishnamoorthiSondland emerges as key target after Vindman testimony Ex-Trump official's refusal to testify escalates impeachment tensions Five takeaways from US envoy's explosive testimony MORE (D-Ill.) and Chris StewartChristopher (Chris) Douglas StewartIt's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number Republicans storm closed-door hearing to protest impeachment inquiry Diplomat says Ukraine aid was tied to political investigations 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 TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE took office.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' 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.