The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill that will impose fresh sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea, and will include a provision which removes President Trump’s ability to ease such sanctions in the future.
The bill, which still has to be approved by the Senate, has long been sought by lawmakers seeking to punish Russia for its involvement in a number of actions against the United States and other countries, ranging from their meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election to the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.
The sanctions against Iran focus on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and their support for terrorist activities abroad, and those against North Korea are in response to its burgeoning ballistic missile program.
President Trump retains the ability to veto any bill sent to him by Congress. As of now there is no clear indication how Trump will view fresh sanctions against Russia, and his response to the bill will complicate the numerous ongoing investigations into Russian connections with members of his administration and campaign staff. If he signs it, it will be an acknowledgement of Russian responsibility for meddling in the election. If he vetoes it, it will likely send the endless speculation over Russian connections to his associates into the stratosphere.
The bill also has wide bi-partisan support, which would further alienate the President should he decide to veto.
Opponents of U.S. sanctions against Russia include businesses in Europe, who will be penalized for their involvement with Russian energy projects.
Despite whatever relationship being cultivated between Trump and Putin, real or imagined, all signs point to only further deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia.
Perhaps as a sign of good faith, the U.S. mission to NATO tweeted this smiling image of Russian inspectors at Saber Guardian 17, the U.S. Army’s major annual European training event. There is no indication that U.S. or NATO personnel have been invited to Zapad 17, the upcoming Russian equivalent.
— US Mission to NATO (@USNATO) July 25, 2017
Image courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives