1. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Rep. Adam Schiff, (D) California and Rep. Eliot Engel, (D) New York walk into news conference
2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Rep. Adam Schiff, (D) California:
"This act will ensure that the Trump administration cannot unilaterally repeal or lessen sanctions placed on Russia or Putin by the United States in response to their pernicious behavior in Ukraine as well as their meddling in our elections. I'm dismayed that such a step is even necessary. These sanctions enjoyed bipartisan support when they were put in place by President Obama and lifting them without a clear change in Russia's behavior would be nothing more than an appeasement of Putin's destabilizing agenda."
3. Various of news conference
4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Rep. Adam Schiff, (D) California:
"I will say this I think the recent revelation of Flynn's secret conversation with the Russian ambassador on the subject of sanctions makes this legislation all the more important. If there were either condoned discussions that Flynn had or he was acting as a free agent, in either scenario, this president should not have the unfettered capability of eliminating Russian sanctions. There are just too many problematic issues concerning this administration and Russia."
5. Various of news conference
6. SOUNDBITE: (English) Rep. Eliot Engel, (D) New York:
"There certainly seems to have been or still is a cozy relationship between the President, the administration and the Russians. That's very, very disconcerting."
7. Various of news conference
8. SOUNDBITE: (English) Rep. Adam Schiff, (D) California:
"We are in a global struggle with Russia right now, which is trying to dismantle not only our own democracy, but liberal democracy around the world. The threat that that poses to us ought to be kept front and center all the time and that's why I think this legislation is so important."
9. Various of news conference
10. SOUNDBITE: (English) Steny Hoyer, (D) Maryland:
"Clearly, there are matters of national security import that need to be kept close, need to be kept from public discourse because of the damage that it might cause to the United States of America and our security. However, that not ought to divert attention from even more serious breaches that may well have compromised the security of the United States of America."
While introducing bipartisan legislation that would give Congress the ability to review any changes to sanctions on Russia, House Democrats spoke out against alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russia.
"There certainly seems to have been or still is a cozy relationship between the President, the administration and the Russians. That's very, very disconcerting," Rep. Eliot Engel said during a news conference by House Democratic leaders to introduce the bill.
Republican congressional members, Rep. Thomas Rooney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, have also signaled their support for the bill, which mirrors a similar bill introduced last week by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators.
The lawmakers also addressed the recent revelations that President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had reportedly discussed sanctions with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. before Trump was sworn in. Flynn resigned earlier this week.
Further adding to the turmoil within the Trump administration, published news reports suggest U.S. agencies had intercepted phone calls last year between Russian intelligence officials and Trump's 2016 campaign team.
In a series of morning tweets Wednesday, Trump appeared to be trying to distance himself from any appearance of close ties with Russia, by saying that the "real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by 'intelligence' like candy," referring to the leaked intelligence that appeared in published news reports.
House Democratic leaders said that Trump was trying to distract from the real issue of possible Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential elections.