In a move that would’ve made The Wire’s Stringer Bell proud, Congress effectively played the president and left him with no choice: Either sign the bill issuing sanctions against Russia, or look like you’re in bed with Russia. And get this: The bill even prevents the president from single-handedly easing the sanctions, because Congress doesn’t trust his ass.
On Wednesday, Donald Trump relented and reluctantly signed the bill, “one of the first major pieces of legislation that was sent to Trump’s desk, and it represents a rebuke of the President by giving Congress new veto power to block him from removing Russia sanctions,” CNN reports.
The bill, which had been on the president’s desk for almost a week, was signed shortly after 11 a.m., but not before the White House pointed out that the sanctions included “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions” that “purport to displace the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to recognize foreign governments, including their territorial bounds,” according to CNN.
Trump also noted in a statement seen by CNN that the bill is “seriously flawed,” but he signed it anyway because he had no choice. The bill was essentially a complete show of no faith that the president would deal with Russia accordingly.
“Still, the bill remains seriously flawed—particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate,” Trump said in the statement viewed by CNN. “Congress could not even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of talking. 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.”
He ended the statement by saying: “I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”
Because Russian President Vladimir Putin knows how the game is played, as soon as he got word that sanctions agains Moscow were in play, he didn’t wait for Trump to sign the bill before he retaliated against the U.S. by ordering some 755 employees out of Russia and seizing two U.S. diplomatic properties, CNN reports.
The news site notes that the new sanctions bill “hits Russia’s energy and defense sectors, and also includes fresh sanctions against Iran and North Korea.”
Read more at CNN.