Trump Signs Russia Sanctions Law, But Slams It As ‘Flawed’
Expresses concerns about the sanctions’ effects on US relations with European allies
Washington: US President Donald Trump grudgingly signed into law on Wednesday new sanctions against Russia that Congress had approved overwhelmingly last week, criticising the legislation as having “clearly unconstitutional” elements.
After signing a bill that runs counter to his desire to improve relations with Moscow, and which also affects Iran and North Korea, the Republican president laid out a lengthy list of concerns.
“While I favour tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilising behaviour by Iran, North Korea, and Russia, this legislation is significantly flawed,” Trump said in a statement announcing the signing.
The Republican-controlled Congress approved the legislation by such a large margin on Thursday that it would have thwarted any effort by Trump to veto the bill. The legislation has already provoked countermeasures by RussianPresidentVladimirPutin,whohasorderedbigcuts tothenumberofstaffattheUSdiplomaticmissiontoRussia. CongressapprovedthesanctionstopunishtheRussian government over interference in the 2016 presidential election, annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and other perceived violations of international norms. Trump said he was concerned about the sanctions’ effect on work with European allies, and on American business. “My administration ... 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,” he said. The new sanctions measure, the first major foreign policy legislation approved by Congress since Trump took office in January, includes a provision allowing Congress to stop any effort by the president to ease existing sanctions on Russia. In a second statement on the legislation, Trump said that, “Despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity.”