After much back and forth this week about how the House and Senate would finally send substantially similar legislation to aid Ukraine to the White House, the legislation is rolling over to next week, congressional aides said Friday.
The House and Senate have each passed essentially the same set of measures designed to provide loan guarantees to Ukraine while imposing sanctions against Russia meant to punish President Vladimir Putin. But they are not in the same package, which is necessary to send a bill to the president’s desk.
Late Thursday the Senate approved by unanimous consent funding for Voice of America and similar European broadcasts into eastern Ukraine and Crimea geared toward ethnic Russian communities, which was included in the House legislation.
House lawmakers had been expected to approve the Senate Ukraine package Friday on voice vote, while the chamber is adjourned in a pro forma session. But after heartburn over a quick voice vote on the so-called doc-fix legislation Thursday, the chamber decided to instead put the remaining Ukraine legislation on its suspension calendar, for quick debate and approval on Tuesday.
The latest delay is only for a few days, but comes at the end of a long month of uncertainty as lawmakers’ overwhelming disapproval of Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea struggled to translate into a straightforward legislative path — despite widespread bipartisan agreement on the fundamental necessity of a U.S. response.
A House aide said the urgency lessened after Ukraine received aid from the International Monetary Fund this week, allowing Congress more breathing room to come up with a legislative deal.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."