Trump signs ‘seriously flawed’ Russia sanctions bill
President Donald Trump on Wednesday 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.
The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. The law also imposes financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
Trump said the law will “punish and deter bad behaviour by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang’’ and enhance existing sanctions on Moscow.
The president had been reluctant to proceed with the bill, even after it was revised to include some changes that American and European companies sought to ensure that business deals were not stifled by new sanctions. Trump has expressed frustration over Congress’ ability to limit or override the power of the White House on national security matters, saying that it is complicating efforts to co-ordinate with allies _ a sentiment he expressed in Wednesday’s statement.
Last week, the House overwhelmingly backed the bill, 419-3, and the Senate rapidly followed its lead on a 98-2 vote. Those margins guaranteed that Congress would be able to beat back any attempt by Trump to veto the measure.
The president said Wednesday that he signed the bill “for the sake of national unity.’’
“The bill remains seriously flawed _ particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate,’’ Trump said. “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’s talk of extending a hand of co-operation to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been met with resistance as skeptical lawmakers look to limit his leeway. The new measure targets Russia’s energy sector as part of legislation that prevents Trump from easing sanctions on Moscow without congressional approval.
In this July 7, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg. 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.