Trump backs law expanding Russia sanctions: White House

Washington: US President Donald Trump supports a bill announced on the weekend by Congress to increase sanctions on Russia, in part due to Moscow’s alleged interference in last year’s election, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Sanders told ABC News on Sunday that Trump supports the bill as it now reads as the White House has opposed an earlier version of the same bill because it limited Trump’s ability to lift sanctions on Russia, Efe news reported.

The revised bill, which also includes new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, retains Trump’s sanction-lifting authority and his ability to make “significant” policy changes toward Russia, although he would have to inform Congress and lawmakers would have 30 days to decide whether or not to allow such changes.

Meanwhile, the White House also said that Trump is not considering pardoning his advisors, his family members or himself regarding the Russia probe, one day after Trump himself claimed that as President, he had the “complete” authority to pardon anyone.

The new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, and one of Trump’s personal attorneys Jay Sekulow mentioned the issue in separate television interviews.

“The President is not going to have to pardon anybody because the Russia thing is a nonsensical thing,” Scaramucci said on CNN on Sunday morning.

However, in another interview on Fox News, Scaramucci acknowledged that last week he spoke with Trump about the presidential pardon issue.

Sekulow said on ABC that he had not spoken with Trump about pardons.

“We’re not researching the issue because the issue of pardons is not on the table,” he said. “There’s nothing to pardon from.”

“Pardons have not been discussed,” Sekulow added.