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Trump signs sanctions bill on Russia, Iran, DPRK

03 Août 2017

Last week, after the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate both passed a bill sanctioning Russian Federation for its election interference, sanctioning North Korea and Iran, and limiting any president's ability to alter any sanctions, the White House released a statement saying it fully approved of the bill.

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".

The new law allows Congress, which passed the measure to punish Russian Federation over interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea, to halt any effort by Trump to ease sanctions on Russian Federation.

Trump signed the legislation behind closed doors, after failed White House efforts to scupper or water down the bill.

The law aims to punish Russian Federation for its alleged meddling in the 2016 USA elections and its actions in Ukraine.

Instead, Trump released two statements on why a measure passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. Congress is, "seriously flawed, particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch's authority to negotiate".

"But at the end of the day, I think the president is signing this bill because he believes it's in the national interest", Pence said.

Russian Federation has said the fresh U.S. sanctions imposed against Moscow are tantamount to a "full-scale trade war" and destroy prospects for better relations with Washington.

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The proposed measures target Russia's energy sector as part of legislation that prevents Mr Trump from easing sanctions on Moscow without congressional approval.

Fracture lines are growing between his Republican administration and legislators and his frustration showed in a statement in which he criticised Congress after the sanctions bill was passed. But the legislation also makes it harder for the president to lift these sanctions unilaterally, requiring permission from Congress before waiving them.

"The Department of State has determined that the serious risk to United States nationals of arrest and long-term detention represents imminent danger to the physical safety of United States nationals travelling to and within the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)", read the restriction as it appeared on Wednesday in the U.S. government's Federal Register. "Those near unanimous votes made it impossible for President Trump to take any action other than signing it".

Medvedev emphasized that the stiff new sanctions amount to the declaration of an "all-out trade war against Russian Federation", but added that it will cope with the challenge and only get stronger.

The US president, who often called for warmer ties with Moscow during the White House race, has furiously denied the charge.

But he says, he is signing the bill "for the sake of national unity".

The US intelligence community concluded in a report in early January that Putin ordered a campaign involving covert intelligence operations and overt propaganda to undermine faith in the US election, disparage Hillary Clinton and help Trump's election chances.

Trump signs sanctions bill on Russia, Iran, DPRK