Sen. Cardin optimistic on Magnitsky bill

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michael Barone

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, interviewed at the Convention Center, says he’s optimistic that the House will pass his Magnitsky legislation.

It’s an amendment to the normal trade relations with Russia bill and would bar Russian human rights violators from entering the United States. It’s named for the Russian lawyer who defended dissidents and who died in prison after being denied medical treatment.

“It’s an outrage,” Cardin says, with strong emphasis, “something you just can’t be silent about.” He goes on, “Russians I talk to have encouraged me. They say ‘our country can do better than that.’”

He emphasizes this is a bipartisan cause, that he’s working closely on every step with Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl and has been in touch with the House Republican leadership. The Obama administration has pushed against including the Magnitsky amendment.

But Cardin said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s letter in response to his letter asking to bar the human rights violators “showed some interest.”

Anyway, let no one say there’s not one note of bipartisanship at this convention.

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