President Donald Trump signed into law Wednesday morning legislation that levies new sanctions against Russia and restricts Trump’s own ability to ease sanctions in place against Kremlin.
The legislation is aimed at penalizing Kremlin for interference and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. The law also imposes new financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
Last week, the House overwhelmingly backed the bill, 419-3, and the Senate rapidly followed, 98-2. Those margins guaranteed that Congress would be able to beat back any veto attempt
The White House announced the signing shortly after 11 a.m. ET, saying the bill includes “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions” that “purport to displace the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to recognize foreign governments, including their territorial bounds.”
This was followed by the statement of Senator John McCain, who said: “The concerns expressed in the President’s signing statement are hardly surprising, though misplaced. The Framers of our Constitution made the Congress and the President coequal branches of government. This bill has already proven the wisdom of that choice.
“While the American people surely hope for better relations with Russia, what this legislation truly represents is their insistence that Vladimir Putin and his regime must pay a real price for attacking our democracy, violating human rights, occupying Crimea, and destabilizing Ukraine. On this critical issue of national security policy, it was the Congress that acted in the spirit of national unity to carry out the will of the American people. And that is why it is critical that the President comply with the letter and spirit of this legislation and fully implement all of its provisions. Going forward, I hope the President will be as vocal about Russia’s aggressive behavior as he was about his concerns with this legislation.”