WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator John McCain says he will pursue legislation that would cement sanctions against Russia into law if President Donald Trump decides to lift them.
McCain, a Republican from Arizona, made the pledge in a January 27 statement, a day before a planned phone call between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Earlier on January 27, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said in a television interview that lifting U.S. sanctions that were imposed against Russia over its actions in Ukraine and elsewhere was "under consideration."
McCain noted that the January 28 phone call between Trump and Putin comes "amid widespread speculation that the White House is considering lifting sanctions against Russia."
"For the sake of America's national security and that of our allies, I hope President Trump will put an end to this speculation and reject such a reckless course," McCain said. "If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russia into law."
McCain, a vocal critic of Putin, called the Russian president a "murderer and a thug who seeks to undermine American national security interests."
Moscow has repeatedly accused McCain of stirring up anti-Russian sentiment.
Trump’s stated desire to seek better relations with Russia has triggered criticism from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.