Whether you agree with the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election, or you simply think it was nothing to worry about, you should be aware of a few things. Right now, Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America. That is the reality, regardless of how anyone else feels about it, this is the fact of life today. However, that does not mean things happened fairly. Many think that Russia hacked the Presidential elections, which meant we needed to at least consider Russian sanctions eventually.
While Russian sanctions would be a good response to the alleged hacking, most felt this would never occur. If any sort of sanction came down, it would not be done by President Trump. It would then basically be admitting that he was President, and recognizes he did not win fairly.
Trump is currently under investigation over his possible knowledge of Russian interference. While Russia will not admit to the meddling, most believe by now that they did interfere. It seems Washington heads also believe this to be true. With that said, even if Trump had no knowledge of this, Russian sanctions would need to be handed down. That is what brings us to today.
Trump Signs Russian Sanctions Bill Into Law
On Wednesday morning, President Trump ended up signing a bill into law. According to Bloomberg News, the bill was a Russian sanctions bill that the Trump administration would eventually make a statement about. The statement went over the fact that the administration will carry out the law “with reservations.” This means, most likely, they will put the sanctions into place until they are otherwise given proof Russia did not meddle in the election, or so we assumed.
Congress ended up delivering the bill to the desk of President Trump, which means this was not a bill that Trump thought about putting out himself. Congress reportedly did this because they wanted to “codify” the United States’ cracking down on the nation after their interference in the election. Basically, they are punishing Russia with sanctions simply because they felt they had no choice but to do it.
The Impact The Russian Sanctions Bill
Most feel this bill won’t do much of anything to help President Trump in the eyes of the American people who do not care for him. It is basically a consolation prize for them, but it does say a number of things we should note. It says that Congress obviously recognizes that the reports of Russia meddling in the election have more truth to them than they originally thought. This also came from a Republican-led Congress, meaning Trump’s own party is admitting there are problems.
While the investigation into whether or not Trump had a prior knowledge of Russia meddling in the election is still ongoing, they are admitting that the election did get hacked. While they have not come out to say this in a big way yet, this was their way of kinda doing that. They agree with the consensus that a hacking occurred. If that is the case, does that mean Trump should hold office knowing he could have won due to Russia’s help?
Obviously, this causes trouble for Trump. He did not want to avoid signing the bill into law of course. That would make him look suspicious, and it is likely Congress can push this to the Supreme Court if necessary. This bill simply had to happen. However, Trump signed a law punishing the very people who very well helped him get the office he has now. It’s funny to think that the Russian sanctions handed down now are only happening to Russia for their meddling in the election. Then the man they helped to get it is the very man who wrote the bill into law.
This Bill Is Veto-Proof
You may not have known this before now, but the Russian sanctions bill signed by President Trump today is actually pretty much veto-proof. The bill passed by Congress overwhelmingly, and added veto-proof margins to it. It basically strengthens the sanctions on Russia because it gives them the power to block the President from lifting them. So even if Trump tries to veto things here, Congress can say no to them and keep the bill in place just the way it is now.
On top of this, the bill also imposes new sanctions on Iran and North Korea. Obviously, this bill did a ton for the United States of America. It also made sure that Congress had a lot more power than they normally do with bills, once they go into law. The President has been able to veto or remove laws by executive order in the past. This does not allow such.
A statement promised from the White House quoting President Trump on the new sanctions reads:
“While I favor tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by Iran, North Korea, and Russia, this legislation is significantly flawed.”
How This Bill Affects President Trump
The Russian sanctions bill affects the President in many ways. First, as said above, it is proving that Congress recognizes he probably won due to Russia. He may not have known of their meddling beforehand, but Congress is saying they know meddling occurred. The President did go on to say that the law leaves things open to how it can be interpreted. This made others step back a bit and think, would the President try to wiggle around this a bit?
Peter Feaver, a Duke University professor and director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies, spoke about this very thing. He served on the National Security Council staffs of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He claimed on the Russian sanctions bill is a pretty big deal, especially against the Trump administration. He would go on to say regarding the bill that this would be an area “where the administration is going to be watched very carefully.”
He would go on to say regarding the Russian sanctions bill, that it passed:
“by overwhelming majorities in both houses and it’s on one of the most important issues of the day. If the president tries to wiggle out from under the constraints of the law, I think he will pay a high political price for doing so.”
Feaver would go on to say that the reason for the restrictions being so high on this bill by Congress has a lot to do with their lack of direction on punishment for Russia. Once they do, they might get more freedom with the sanctions, saying:
“It’s driven by a perception on Capitol Hill that the administration does not have a coherent Russia policy yet and the administration has not yet spoken with one voice about what Russia did. When they do, and it has bipartisan support, Congress will replace this form of sanctions with another one that gives the president a national security waiver or some form of more wiggle room that is more customary.”