Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:3PM
US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the US military following a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, July 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the US military following a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, July 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The administration of US President Donald Trump is “happy” with the latest congressional push for more sanctions against Russia, says the White House.

“The administration is supportive of being tough on Russia, particularly in putting the sanctions in place,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told ABC News on Sunday.

The comments came two days ahead of a vital vote by the House of Representatives on a new Russian sanctions bill that was passed by the Senate last month.

While introducing a host of new sanctions against Moscow, the legislation would also make it much harder for Trump to lift the sanctions.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC,  July 11, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Trump administration had worked hard to ease the penalties. While reports stated that the measure was likely to reach the president’s desk without the requested changes, Sanders said the administration was happy with the current bill.

“The original piece of legislation was poorly written, but we were able to look at the House and Senate,” she said. “And the administration is happy with the ability to do that, to make the changes that were necessary and we support where the legislation is now.”

Sanctions in Trump’s ‘best interest’

The new sanctions aim to punish Russia for what American officials call its interference in the 2016 presidential election which led to Trump's victory. The accusation has prompted a controversial investigation into Trump’s alleged “collusion” with the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, Senator John Thune, the Senate's third-ranking Republican, said Sunday that the bill was expected to pass Congress “with a veto proof majority” and it was in Trump’s “best interest” to sign it.

“I think it is in his best interest for a lot of reasons to sign it, and I believe he [Trump] will," he told Fox News.

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Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat, echoed the same stance, telling Fox News that Trump stood no chance to veto the bill since it had “broad support in the Senate and in the House.”

The US and the European Union (EU) imposed a series of economic sanctions against Russia since 2014, accusing the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin of escalating the crisis in Ukraine.

However, the EU has recently warned the US against imposing new sanctions on Russia, warning Washington of "indiscriminate" and "unintended consequences."