US House seen passing Russia sanctions bill limiting Trump's power

WASHINGTON, July 25 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote overwhelmingly on Tuesday for a bill that would slap new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, potentially complicating President Donald Trump's hopes of pursuing improved relations with Moscow.

The bipartisan measure aims to punish Russia for its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and for alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The measure's fate in the Senate is uncertain after a key senator said the deal announced over the weekend may not be final.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters that negotiators had a "very good weekend" but any announcement "seemed somewhat premature."

"We're about there, there's still some procedural issues we're discussing but, you know, I think it worked out very, very well. We've still got a couple of things to talk about on North Korea," Corker said.

If the Republican-led Senate passes the measure, Trump will need to decide whether to sign the bill or veto it. Rejecting it would carry a risk that his veto could be overridden by lawmakers.

The Trump administration has objected to a provision in the sanctions bill that the president obtain congressional approval before easing any sanctions on Moscow.

RELATED: Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective

15 PHOTOS
Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
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Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
June 7: The 2016 primary season essentially concludes, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominees
June 9: Donald Trump Jr. — along with Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort — meets with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9: Trump tweets about Clinton's missing 33,000 emails
July 18: Washington Post reports, on the first day of the GOP convention, that the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to ensure that it didn't call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces
July 21: GOP convention concludes with Trump giving his speech accepting the Republican nomination
July 22: WikiLeaks releases stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee
July 25: Democratic convention begins
July 27: In final news conference of his 2016 campaign, Trump asks Russia: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing"
August 4: Obama CIA Director John Brennan confronts his Russian counterpart about Russia's interference. "[I] told him if you go down this road, it's going to have serious consequences, not only for the bilateral relationship, but for our ability to work with Russia on any issue, because it is an assault on our democracy," Brennan said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
October 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says his organization will publish emails related to the 2016 campaign
October 7: WikiLeaks begins releasing Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta's emails
October 7: Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence release a statement directly saying that Russia is interfering in the 2016 election
October 31: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove," Trump says on the campaign trail
November 4: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump says from Ohio.
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"He's going to study that legislation and see what the final product looks like," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday, when asked whether Trump would support it.

An earlier version of the bill, including sanctions on Russia and Iran, passed the Senate by 98-2 on June 15. A North Korea sanctions bill passed the House by 419-1 in May and House lawmakers were becoming increasingly impatient with the Senate's failure to take up that legislation.

House members saw the Iran and Russia sanctions bill as a chance to finally get the North Korea measure through the Senate.

Trump's relationship with Russia has been an issue during the first six months of his presidency as investigations continue into whether his associates colluded with Russian hackers to influence the election on his behalf.

Russia denies interfering in the U.S. election. Trump has denied his campaign colluded with Moscow, calling the probes politically motivated and repeatedly criticizing them.

In a series of tweets early on Tuesday, Trump lashed out at both U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Andrew McCabe, acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Without offering evidence, Trump cited "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage" his presidential campaign in order to aid his former Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser, will visit Capitol Hill for a second straight day to be interviewed about his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign and the presidential transition.

Trump on Tuesday praised Kushner, saying he had done "very well yesterday in proving he did not collude with the Russians." (Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Susan Heavey; Editing by Peter Cooney and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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