Trump signs bill imposing fresh sanctions on Russia, Iran, N. Korea

US President Donald J. Trump signed legislation on Aug. 2 that imposes sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea after both houses of Congress passed the bill in nearly unanimous votes a week earlier.

US President Donald J. Trump signed legislation on Aug. 2 that imposes sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea after both houses of Congress passed the bill in nearly unanimous votes a week earlier (OGJ Online, July 28, 2017). The measure is much improved over its original version but is still flawed because it encroaches on the executive branch’s ability to negotiate, he said at a White House signing ceremony.

“We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies,” the president said. “The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies—who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions—regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation.”

The new language also ensures that US agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect US companies and those of its allies, he added.

But the bill remains seriously flawed because it encroaches on the executive branch’s ability to negotiate, 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,” he warned. “The framers of our constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the president. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.

“Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity,” he continued. “It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.” The bill also sends a clear message to Iran and North Korea that the US will not tolerate “their dangerous and destabilizing behavior,” Trump noted.

He said earlier that he supports “making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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