Trump has repeatedly dismissed Russian electoral meddling, raising questions about whether the White House might reject the Senate's sanctions deal.
Russia's interventions in Ukraine and Crimea and its support of Assad in the Syrian war are the other stated reasons for the sanctions, aside from the hacking that United States intelligence agencies say Russian Federation engaged in aggressively with the alleged aim of helping Trump beat Hillary Clinton last November.
United States senators sent Russian Federation a message Wednesday with a almost unanimous, bipartisan vote on a set of sanctions as part of the larger Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act, but they also were likely sending President Donald Trump a little memo as well.
"I think the bill is a very, very strong signal to Russian Federation", he said, having played a role in drafting its wording, "but it does provide the administration the flexibilities they need to conduct business".
Trump officials have been eager to crack down on Iran's non-nuclear illicit activities, and have squeezed the country with additional sanctions while they conduct a comprehensive Iran policy review.
The proposed legislation seeks to penalize Russian Federation for its interference in the 2016 USA presidential elections, involvement in Syria's civil war and annexation of the Crimea region in Ukraine.
No plan to sack Russian Federation probe head Mueller: US justice official
Trump has the power to unilaterally remove Mueller from the job, but legal experts argue that would create a crisis in American institutions.
The White House has yet to announce its position on the legislation, and whether it approves of a process of congressional review that would essentially restrict the president's actions with regard to Putin's government.
On the Iran sanctions, despite some opposition from a few officials in the Obama Administration, the plan focuses extra sanctions on Iranian support for terrorism, human rights abuses, and most importantly the work on a ballistic missile program.
Secretary Tillerson says U.S. -Russia relations are at a new low and he's trying to stabilize that. Bernie Sanders. Sanders says he's anxious the legislation, which also includes sanctions against Iran, could hurt the Iranian nuclear deal. Before passing the combined Russia-Iran measure, the chamber also attached a bipartisan amendment signaling support for NATO's Article 5 - which Trump earlier this month notably declined to endorse in Brussels - by a unanimous vote.
"It expands the list of where sanctions can apply to the energy projects and foreign financial institutions", said Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Two Obama era State Department officials were alarmed at the review and told Senators Ben Cardin and Lindsey Graham that it appeared the president wanted to lift sanctions on Russian Federation. Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. voting against it.
"However, we can't accept the threat of illegal and extraterritorial sanctions against European companies", they said.