President Trump — because he had no choice in the matter — has signed a sweeping sanctions bill primarily geared toward Russia (with some sections devoted to North Korea and Iran). Tellingly, the bill also severely limits Trump’s ability to lift these sanctions, should he ever itch to do so in the future (as he has already tried to do in the recent past). The bill was protected through veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate, so the man who once hoped that Putin would be his friend has been forced to transform him into an enemy.
All of this comes down to Russian interference in the U.S. election, and even GOP Congressfolk knew better than to oppose such a move. Ironically for Trump, this bill actually functions as a rare display of bipartisanship where the Trump era is concerned, for the bill passed 98-2 in the Senate and 419-3 in the House. However, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has admitted that the president (who apparently banned media coverage of the signing) believes the legislation is harmful and has made no secret of his displeasure:
Before the bill was signed, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed that neither he nor the president approved of the sanctions, believing they hinder the administration’s attempts to restore relations with Russia.
“The action by the Congress to put these sanctions in place and the way they did, neither the president nor I were very happy about that,” Tillerson told reporters Tuesday. “We were clear that we didn’t think it was going to be helpful to our efforts.”
Now, all eyes will turn to Russia to see whether or not the Kremlin will issue an immediate response. Last week, Vladimir Putin booted 755 U.S. embassy staffers and seized two U.S. diplomatic compounds. And he did so while expressing impatience, for he must have believed that his multiple G20 meetings (at least one being a secret rendezvous) would have worked their mojo on Trump. From the looks of things, the handshake and “very good” talks did have an effect on the president, but Congress has c*ckblocked that friendship. Too bad, bros!
Despite the seriousness of this matter, is anyone else wondering whether that reported “golden showers” tape might soon become a reality? Don’t lie!
UPDATE: President Trump has issued a statement to condemn the sanctions bill, which he believes is “flawed” and ultimately unconstitutional:
“In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions My Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies.”