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AP

House and Senate leaders struck a deal late Wednesday night that would ramp up sanctions against Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election (in a package that also heightened sanctions on Iran and North Korea) while also limiting President Trump's power to nix them.

Where Europe comes in: European allies are concerned that the sanctions against Russia would inadvertently be damaging to their economies as well.

Here's why
  • The bill seeks to strike at the heart of Russia's economic lifeline, which is its sale of oil and natural gas. Oil and natural gas exports pay for half of the Russian state budget, and Russia's biggest customer is Europe.
  • It's not only Russia that is reliant: Europe depends on Russia for about a quarter of its energy supplies.
  • And some of Europe's biggest energy and construction companies have big contracts to build Nordstream 2, an enormous natural gas line under the Baltic Sea that's meant to allow Russia to finally all-but sever its dependence on export lines crossing Ukraine.

And they might retaliate: EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday, "If our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days. 'America First' cannot mean that Europe's interests come last." Juncker's warning is a dig at Trump, but...

Trump's hands might be tied: The White House doesn't like the bill either, arguing it limits Trump's abilities to deal with Russia. But he's likely to sign it anyway, given its popularity and the likelihood that lawmakers will have the votes to override a potential veto.

Go deeper

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.

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