President Donald Trump is set to accept a bill that not only slaps new sanctions on Russia, but also limits his ability to remove those sanctions unilaterally.
Congressional leaders reached a deal Saturday to hit Russia for interference in the U.S. presidential election, annexation of Crimea and aggression towards other neighbors like Ukraine in the form of aid to rebels loyal to Russia. Although the White House strenuously objected to the provision that would limit Trump’s ability to lift sanctions, it seems Trump is now ready to sign the legislation, The New York Times reports.
“The administration is supportive of being tough on Russia, particularly in putting these sanctions in place,” new White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on “This Week” on ABC News. “The original piece of legislation was poorly written, but we were able to work with the House and Senate, and the administration is happy with the ability to do that and make those changes that were necessary and we support where the legislation is now.”
GOP South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the Senate’s third-ranking Republican, told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that it’s in Trump’s best interest to sign the bill.
“I think that in the end the administration will come to the conclusion that an overwhelming majority of congress has and that is that we need to sanction Russia for their meddling in the U.S. election. That I think will pass overwhelmingly again in the senate with a veto proof majority,” Thune said.
“I think it is in his best interest for a lot of reasons to sign it, and I believe he will,” he added.
Even if Trump were to veto the bill, Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, who appeared on the show with Thune, added that the Senate would override any veto. The legislation first passed the Senate by a vote of 97-2. Both Republicans and Democrats expect that the legislation would pass the House by a similar vote.
As noted by The New York Times, White House officials said privately that they did not believe there was any alternative to signing the bill, as vetoing could give the impression that Trump is favorable to Moscow, which the administration has been trying to shake.
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