Trump Signs ‘Seriously Flawed’ Russian Sanctions Bill

trump sanctions russia
President Donald J. Trump. (Photo: Reuters, file photo)

President Donald J. Trump has reluctantly signed a bill on Wednesday imposing new sanctions on Russia, complaining that the bill is “seriously flawed” since it restricted his authority to ease the expanded sanctions.

The bill severely limits president’s ability to lift sanctions on Moscow, requiring Mr. Trump to get permission from Congress. Both legislative houses have passed the bill with veto-proof majorities, a vote of 419-3 in the House and of 98-2 in the Senate. It also included new sanctions on North Korea and Iran.

Mr. Trump lamented in a signing statement that the bill had violated many aspects of the Constitution “particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.” Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson had also stated that neither the president nor he were happy about the bill, believing that this is not the proper way to deal with Russia.

The sanctions are intended to punish Russia for its aggression in Ukraine and Syria as well as its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. The latest plunge in U.S. relations with Russia has changed the positive course that came along with the victory of Mr. Trump last year.

In a tit-for-tat manner that was reminiscent of Cold War politics, Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliated on Sunday. He ordered the U.S. to reduce its staff by 755 in Russia, a signal that Mr. Putin runs out of hope expecting the relations with the U.S. would improve.

“We waited for quite a long time that, perhaps, something will change for the better, we held out hope that the situation would somehow change,” Mr. Putin expressed his disappointment with Washington on a state-run Russian television.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, stated that the bill represents “the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States.”