Washington: President Donald Trump today blamed Congress for “an all-time” and “very dangerous” low in US’ relations with Russia, a day after he reluctantly signed into law a bill imposing tough sanctions against Moscow under mounting domestic pressure.
Trump signed into law a legislation that imposes tough sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea and limits his ability to lift the curbs unilaterally.
The signing of the bill put to rest questions about whether Trump would support the legislation passed overwhelmingly by Congress last week.
“Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!” Trump wrote on twitter.
The “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” which enacts new sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia was passed by both the chambers of the Congress – House of Representatives and the Senate – by an overwhelming majority.
In his signing statement, Trump had expressed his disagreement with certain provisions of the bill even though he said he supported new sanctions on Russia.
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“The bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking,” Trump said.
“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. The framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that the President favours tough measures to punish and deter the rogue regimes in Iran and North Korea for the bad behaviour.
“He also sent a clear signal that we won’t tolerate interference in our democratic process by Russia,” she said.
“The bill was improved, but Congress has encroached on the power of the presidency, and he signed it in the interest of national unity. We’ve been very clear that we support tough sanctions on all three of those countries. We continue to do so,” Sanders said.
Russia has responded to these sanctions by reducing the size of US mission in Russia and asking several hundreds of American officials there to leave.
Trump’s presidency has been marred by accusations that his campaign team colluded with Moscow during last year’s US presidential polls in which he defeated Hillary Clinton.