Moscow will 'pay a real price': McCain gloats at Trump's signing of Russia sanctions

© REUTERS/ Henry Romero

US President Donald Trump's signature, imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, prompted Republican Senator John McCain to call out the president - this time for (faint) praise.

Trump expressed major reservations about the bill immediately after signing it into law. That's a new level even for Trump: to bash something he will forever be on-record as having approved to become law. "The concerns expressed in the president's signing statement are hardly surprising, though misplaced," McCain said Wednesday.

"While the American people surely hope for better relations with Russia, what this legislation truly represents is their insistence that Vladimir Putin and his regime must pay a real price for attacking our democracy," the statement says.


Trump had little choice but to sign the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act into law, given the nearly 100 percent legislative support it received in Congress. If Trump had vetoed it, there were enough votes in the House and Senate to override his veto, which would have been a major embarrassment to the president.

Instead, Trump continued to disrupt "politics as usual" by passing the law, and then immediately stating the law contained "clearly unconstitutional provisions" and "remains seriously flawed-particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch's authority to negotiate."

"As president, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress," he said. The sanctions have drawn the ire of not only Russia, but France, Germany and the EU; the political victory of the US Congress has come at some cost internationally.

Of course, US intelligence reports suggesting Russian hackers broke into a Democratic National Committee server spurred skepticism among members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). VIPS is a group of former CIA, NSA, and other intelligence and defense officials.

In a letter to the president, the group said, "our conclusion [is] that leaks are the source of the WikiLeaks disclosure in question-not hacking."

"Going forward, I hope the president will be as vocal about Russia's aggressive behavior as he was about his concerns with this legislation," the statement from McCain's press shop read.

As the District Sentinel's Sam Knight reported on Wednesday, since the belligerent senator is in Arizona receiving cancer treatment, McCain's absence from the US Capitol is holding up a bill in the Senate that would make it harder to sue financial institutions.

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