JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Russia Sanctions Test in the U.S. Senate; A move to block sanctions relief has been defeated, averting a likely spike in global aluminum prices but also spotlighting the tough road ahead for Congress in shaping policy on Russia” – Council on Foreign Relations/ Stephen Sestanovich

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“Fifty-seven senators … tried unsuccessfully … to keep … Trump … from going forward with sanctions relief for Russia’s largest aluminum producer, Rusal, and its parent companies. … highlight[ing] internal tensions over Russia policy and the difficulty Congress faces …. Sanctions against Russia have enjoyed strong support in Congress since the annexation of Crimea …. The Treasury Department claimed … sanctions … forced Oleg Deripaska, Rusal’s principal owner and a close [Putin] ally … to agree to cut his holdings …. Some of Deripaska’s shares will simply be donated to his own foundation or to relatives; others … acquired by a government-owned bank, itself under sanctions, in exchange for forgiveness of Deripaska’s debts. … The Trump administration did … have one strong argument …. Rusal is an important part of the global aluminum market, and businesses in both the United States and Europe … want that market to be stable. … Bipartisan votes against the administration’s handling of Rusal showed real unhappiness with the president’s overall Russia policy. … [yet] reflect a sharp drop-off from … near-unanimous hostility … [following] Trump’s first meetings with Putin …. To push successfully for new approaches on other issues – from sanctions to arms control to election meddling – Congress will have to speak with one voice …. unlikely to do so, congressional critics will remain frustrated by Trump’s approach to Russia, but … will struggle to develop effective alternatives.”

Click here for: “The Russia Sanctions Test in the U.S. Senate; A move to block sanctions relief has been defeated, averting a likely spike in global aluminum prices but also spotlighting the tough road ahead for Congress in shaping policy on Russia” – Council on Foreign Relations/ Stephen Sestanovich