Trump may approve new sanctions on Russia, White House says


US President Donald Trump could veto pending legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia in order to push "an even tougher deal," White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci said on Thursday.

"He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate a even tougher deal against the Russians," Scaramucci told CNN in an interview.

The House of Representatives this week passed the legislation, 419-3, to enact new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, clearing the far-reaching measure for action by the Senate, where its future is less certain.

The proposed measures target Russia's energy sector as part of legislation that prevents Trump from easing sanctions on Moscow without congressional approval.

Russia's ambitions to be on equal footing with the U.S. suffered a setback in 2014 when the Obama administration authorized sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy, including financial services, energy, mining and defense. The administration also sanctioned people in Putin's inner circle accused of undermining peace in Ukraine.

Trump's positions on Russia are generally hard to assess because he's often stepped away from his more controversial proposals. In his meeting this month with Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 leading rich and developing nations summit in Germany, Trump said he repeatedly addressed the topic of Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. But he never directly answered questions about whether he believed Putin's claims that Russia had nothing to do with it.

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