President Trump Signs Russian Sanctions

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It’s no secret that the US and Russia do not get along. Their relationship has been under even more scrutiny since President Trump took office. Many critics feel that the Trump organization has too many business ties to Russia and tensions have only increased since Russia was accused of interfering in the American election.

Over the past few months, Congress and the Senate have been drawing up Sanctions to place on Russia for their involvement in the election, as well as their support for Syrian leader, Bashar Assad. Earlier today President Trump signed those sanctions into law. Let’s take a look at how this was covered:

CNN – Trump signs Russia sanctions bill

Fox – President Trump signs Russia sanctions bill

Opening paragraphs:

President Donald Trump signed into law Wednesday morning legislation that levies new sanctions against Russia and restricts Trump’s own ability to ease sanctions in place against Moscow. – CNN

The bill is one of the first major pieces of legislation that was sent to Trump’s desk, and it represents a rebuke of the President by giving Congress new veto power to block him from removing Russia sanctions. – CNN

President Trump on Wednesday signed a bill imposing sanctions on Russia, after the legislation overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate. – Fox

The stiff financial sanctions were championed by lawmakers in both parties, and Trump’s signature could escalate tensions with Moscow — which already has ordered a reduction in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia. – Fox

Background on the bill:

The measure was signed into law after it passed with overwhelming margins in both the House and Senate — which made the threat of a presidential veto a non-starter — but it was not an easy road to Trump’s desk. – CNN

After the Senate passed the sanctions on Iran and Russia 98-2, the bill languished in the House for more than a month amid a series of procedural fights. Then the House added North Korean sanctions before passing the measure 419-3, effectively forcing the Senate to swallow the new sanctions in order to get the legislation over the finish line before Congress left for its August congressional recess – CNN

White House officials lobbied to weaken the section giving Congress a veto on the easing of sanctions, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Congress the administration should have “flexibility” to negotiate with Russia and improve relations. – CNN

a cornerstone of the legislation was a provision barring Trump from easing or waiving the additional penalties on Russia unless Congress agrees. The provisions were included to assuage concerns among lawmakers that the president’s push for better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin might lead him to relax the penalties without first securing concessions from the Kremlin. – Fox

The Senate passed the bill, 98-2, two days after the House pushed the measure through by an overwhelming margin, 419-3. Both were veto proof numbers, upping pressure on Trump to sign the legislation. – Fox

The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. – Fox

Signing a bill that penalizes Russia’s election interference would mark a significant shift for Trump. He’s repeatedly cast doubt on the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia sought to tip the election in his favor. And he’s blasted as a “witch hunt” investigations into the extent of Russia’s interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. – Fox

The 184-page bill seeks to hit Putin and the oligarchs close to him by targeting Russian corruption, human rights abusers, and crucial sectors of the Russian economy, including weapons sales and energy exports. – Fox

Trump’s Thoughts:

The White House announced the signing shortly after 11 a.m. ET, saying the bill includes “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions” that “purport to displace the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to recognize foreign governments, including their territorial bounds.” – CNN

In a separate statement, Trump said he believed the bill to be “seriously flawed” but signed it anyway…”Still, the bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate,” he said in the statement. “Congress could not even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of talking. 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.” – CNN

He ended the statement by saying: “I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.” – CNN

Trump made clear his concerns about such provisions in a written statement released by the White House on Wednesday. He said while he favors “tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior” in all three countries, “this legislation is significantly flawed.” – Fox

“In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions,” he [Trump] said, outlining numerous alleged constitutional conflicts… “President Trump believes whatever frustration that we feel for Congress limiting his authority … that, on balance, this legislation reaffirms the president’s strong commitment to ongoing sanctions with Russia, to make it clear their destabilizing behaviors are not acceptable to the United States, and that ongoing provocations from North Korea and Iran will no longer be acceptable,” he said. – Fox

Reactions:

Even before Trump signed the bill, the measure prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to retaliate against the US over the new sanctions, which Congress levied over Russian interference in the 2016 US election, as well as Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Syria. – CNN

The new sanctions bill hits Russia’s energy and defense sectors, and also includes fresh sanctions against Iran and North Korea. – CNN

“I’ve walked the President through the process of how congressional review works,” [Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob] Corker said. “The administration — knowing that unless it’s way out of bounds — likely they have the flexibility to do what they need to do.” … Corker noted that Trump has refused to believe his intelligence leaders that Russia interfered with the election, and said that may have helped push Congress to get the bill done quickly.
“I do think that the lack of strong statements in that regard probably effected the outcome,” he said. – CNN

 

In typical CNN fashion, they choose to use this article to emphasize past actions or hypocritical statements from President Trump. Rather than focus on the fact that he is placing sanctions on Russia, the article strongly suggests that Congress rushed the bill through because they do not trust the President when it comes to Russia. Furthermore, CNN seems to insinuate that part of the reason for the sanctions is Russia’s involvement in the election, something that Trump may have known about.

As we have grown accustomed too, Fox does not present this story with nearly as much analysis as CNN does. They report only official statements with very little back story, analysis, or predictions. The article seems to allude to the fact that a big reason that Congress voted on the bill so quickly was because fear does exist in Washington when it comes to the President’s relationship with Russia; however, they do not openly state that. Additionally, the article states that the signing of the sanctions is a significant change in tone from the President, who has thus far been unwilling to take a strong stance against Russia. However, it is clear from Trump’s statements when he signed the bill that he feels Congress forced him into signing this, and he was not happy with the contents of the bill.

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