The Hill's next Russia battle

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Republican leaders are quietly bunkering down for a fight over Russia sanctions. Defense Secretary James Mattis has asked the House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry to put a provision into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would let the administration waive sanctions for U.S. partners, like India and Vietnam, who buy weapons from Russia. And Thornberry has agreed to do so.

Why this matters: In this political environment, anything Russia-related can be explosive. Republicans involved in the conversations tell me they worry that Democrats will use the issue to bash them as appeasing Putin.