Trump Adds Concerns but signs new Russia sanctions bill

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August 2, 2017

President Trump has signed a new package of sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea that the Senate approved last week, according to a senior administration official.

Trump will also issue a signing statement questioning whether the legislation interferes with the president's right to conduct foreign policy, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

August 2, 2017

President Trump has signed a new package of sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea that the Senate approved last week, according to a senior administration official.

Trump will also issue a signing statement questioning whether the legislation interferes with the president's right to conduct foreign policy, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that neither he nor Trump were particularly happy with the sanctions bill.

"We were clear that we didn't think it was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that's the decision they made," he said, referring to members of Congress. "They made it in a very overwhelming way. I think the president accepts that."

The legislation bars Trump from easing or waiving the penalties on Russia unless Congress agrees.

Congressional lawmakers have said Trump had little choice but to sign the bill, given the fact Trump and aides are under scrutiny over possible ties to Russia in the wake of its efforts last year to influence the presidential election.

Trump had previously objected to the curbs on his ability to ease sanctions on Russia, a possibility he has raised in the past.

Yet in a statement last week that Trump intended to sign the bill, the White House said Trump "negotiated regarding critical elements" of early drafts of the bill and approved of the final draft "based on its responsiveness to his negotiations."

Before the White House issued that statement Friday, Moscow retaliated against the possible sanctions by ordering the expulsion of American diplomats and seized recreational property used by embassy staff.

The Russian foreign ministry told Washington to cut its diplomatic staff to 455 by Sept. 1 and said it would shutter a dacha, or country retreat, used by U.S. diplomatic staff on the outskirts of Moscow, as well as some warehouse facilities.


Courtesy/Source: USA Today