White House cedes sanctions power to Congress
WASHINGTON, July 23, 2017 – President Donald Trump has signaled that he would accept legislation involving new sanctions power’s on Russia, decreasing his presidential power to lift sanctions on Russia and placing the approval process to place or remove sanctions in Congress.
The new legislation would require permission by Congress before President Trump could ease sanctions and penalties against Moscow. Congress will consider the sanctions deal on Tuesday and the bill is expected to be sent and signed by President Trump before the August recess.
“A nearly united Congress is poised to send President Putin a clear message on behalf of the American people and our allies,” said Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) who is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “and we need President Trump to help us deliver that message.”
Congress’ sanctions legislation is written to punish Russia for its election meddling and aggression toward its neighbors, specifically Crimea. The White House’s argument has been that President Trump needs the flexibility to adjust the sanctions to fit his diplomatic initiatives with Moscow.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) July 23, 2017
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told ABC’s “This Week” that the White House supports the current legislation and will work with Congress to put further sanctions against Russia in place.
The new legislation comes as Trump and his team are being investigated for collusion with Russia during the 2016 election. Jared Kushner is speaking with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday and the House Intelligence Committee tomorrow to clarify his past interactions with Russia and possible agents for Russia.
Republican and Democratic leaders announced on Saturday they settled key issues they had with the bill, which also includes financial penalties against Iran and North Korea. House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Ed Royce released a joint statement.
“North Korea, Iran and Russia have in different ways all threatened their neighbors and actively sought to undermine American interests,” “The bill will now exclusively focus on these nations and hold them accountable for their dangerous actions.”
If signed by the President’s it does speak widely of his assertations that he has not and does not have a relationship that favors President Putin or Russia over America.
The US already has a raft of sanctions in place against Russian individuals and companies over Crimea. In December, following claims of election hacking, then President Barack Obama also expelled 35 diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in the US that Russia is seeking to reverse.