Trump Blasts Sanctions Bill But Signs It

  • FILE - In this July 31, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House. Trump signed on Aug. 2, what he called a "seriously flawed" bill imposing new sanctions on Russia, pressured by his Republican Party not to move on his own toward a warmer relationship with Moscow in light of Russian actions.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

  • FILE - In this July 28, 2017, file photo, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, with a monument to Russian revolutionary workers in the foreground. President Donald Trump on Aug. 2, signed what he called a "seriously flawed" bill imposing new sanctions on Russia, pressured by his Republican Party not to move on his own toward a warmer relationship with Moscow in light of Russian actions. Moscow has responded to a White House announcement that Trump intended to sign the bill, by ordering a reduction in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

  • FILE - In this July 21, 2017 file photo, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at the State Department in Washington. Tillerson says neither he nor President Donald Trump is "very happy" about new sanctions on Russia that Congress has voted to put in place. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

  • Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, arrive on Capitol Hill Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, for a closed-door meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. talks to reporters on Capitol Hill Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, following a closed-door meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis. Earlier, President Donald Trump signed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia which passed Congress with overwhelming support. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and other members of the committee, arrive on Capitol Hill Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, for a closed-door meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis. Earlier, President Donald Trump signed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia which passed Congress with overwhelming support. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Published: 8/2/2017 11:34:56 PM

Washington — President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a bill that imposes new sanctions on Russia, but he immediately expressed doubts about its constitutionality and criticized Congress for giving itself greater powers to prevent him from rolling back penalties aimed at Moscow.

Trump’s reluctant signing of the legislation came nearly a week after it was approved by overwhelming, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate that assured any veto could be overridden. Trump’s statement, however, raised questions about whether he will enforce all its provisions.

He called the bill — which imposes new penalties on Russia, Iran and North Korea — “seriously flawed,” primarily because it restricts his ability to negotiate sanctions concerning Moscow without congressional approval.

“By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together,” Trump said in a statement on Wednesday morning. “The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.”

While Trump said he would honor this section of the law despite his qualms, he argued other parts of the bill are “clearly unconstitutional” and held out the possibility he would ignore provisions concerning the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the denial of visas to foreign nationals targeted by the bill.

“My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions and will implement them in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations,” he said.

Trump said his problems with the legislation did not mean he opposed its underlying principles.

“I favor tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang,” he said. “I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.”

But lawmakers’ solidarity in tying Trump’s hands on Russian sanctions reflects a deepening concern about the White House’s posture toward Moscow, which critics have characterized as naive. The new Russia sanctions expand on measures taken by the Obama administration to punish the Kremlin for its alleged efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. But Trump has continued to cast doubt that Russia alone was responsible and he has called the investigations in Congress and by the special counsel into the issue a “witch hunt.”

The administration’s lobbying of lawmakers in public and private to pull back the bill’s requirement that Congress review any attempt by the president to amend sanctions against Moscow ultimately fell on deaf ears. The measure imposes a 30-day review period to give Congress a chance to vote down any of the president’s proposed changes to these policies before they can be implemented.

Trump said he signed the legislation despite his reservations for the sake of “national unity,” but in a pointed jab at lawmakers in his own party, he questioned Congress’s ability to negotiate sanctions based on its inability to approve the Republicans’ health-care legislation.




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2019 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy