US President Donald Trump to sign Russia-Iran sanctions legislation: White House

July 29, 2017 6:02 am

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the in Washington, DC, July 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The White House has announced that President intends to sign legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.
“President Donald J. Trump read early drafts of the bill and negotiated regarding critical elements of it,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Friday night.
“He has now reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it,” she added.
The legislation, which was sent to the White House on Friday, would impose new sanctions against Russia while limiting Trump’s ability to independently relax penalties against Moscow.
The bill, which had passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof majorities, also includes new sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives passed their version of the bill 419-3 on Tuesday, while the Senate voted 98-2 on Thursday to send the legislation to Trump’s desk.
On Wednesday, the House and Senate reportedly reached a deal on the legislation after a push to add in North Korea sanctions had threatened to complicate the bill’s path forward.
Trump has little choice but to sign the legislation because rejecting it would only deepen concerns about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Furthermore, Congress would quickly overturn a veto.

President Donald Trump speaks to the press upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on July 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Signing the legislation into law will send the White House into an escalating confrontation with Russia, which will likely retaliate beyond the expulsion of American diplomats that happened on Friday.  
“He is in a lose-lose situation here,” George Beebe, a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA, told CNN. “There really are no good options for him on this.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Moscow would decide on how to retaliate once it had seen the final text of the bill.
The White House had pushed for a softer version of the bill, which requires the president to justify in writing any effort to ease sanctions on Russia and mandates a congressional review of any such move.
Trump has repeatedly said he wants to improve US relations with Russia and still rejects the intelligence assessment that Moscow tried to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.
On Friday, the US Treasury Department announced new sanctions on Iran over what it called Tehran’s “continued provocative actions,” including Thursday’s successful test of a satellite-launch rocket.
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