As announced Friday afternoon, President Trump has agreed to sign the Russia sanctions bill after adding a few changes of his own.
The bill, announced last week, was created by a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House and the Senate. It passed the Senate 98-2 on Thursday and passed the House 419-3 on Tuesday. Such strong votes make a Trump veto virtually impossible.
It would have been “foolhardy” for the Trump Administration to veto the bill, explains former Obama State Department official Edward Fishman. “Congress would have overridden the veto, and all it will do is fuel the fire of the Russian scandal in Washington.”
As I wrote in a previous article, the bill imposes penalties on Iran and North Korea as well as Russia and includes measures that prevent Trump from single-handedly deciding to suspend or end sanctions on Russia.
Russia has responded to the news by announcing it will be expelling a handful of American diplomats and repossessing real estate currently being used by the American mission in Moscow. Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has warned of “potentially destructive consequences.”
European officials are also concerned by the bill, arguing that it gives Trump the ability to ban investments in European energy projects tied to Russia.
“The US bill could have unintended unilateral effects that impact the EU’s energy interests,” EU President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday. “New sanctions should always be coordinated between allies.”
Meanwhile, Secretary of Rex Tillerson says Moscow should view the bill as a demand for Russia to “take steps to improve relations with the United States.”
“We hope that there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues and these sanctions will no longer be necessary,” said Tillerson.
Unfortunately, the new sanctions bill will erode the friendly relationship between Trump and Putin and make it that much harder for us to make any sort of deal with Russia.
Author’s Note: This bill essentially ties Trump’s hands in future dealings with Putin.
This is especially disturbing since we all know the interference in our elections by the Russians was minimal and had no effect. The “Russia collusion” story was a media invention based on lies from the Hillary campaign.
Editor’s note: The Republican Congress and Trump have been forced into this by the liberal media. I’m a bit surprised that Trump went along with it, but he has more important things going on.