Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017.


Trump’s Signing Statement on the Russia Sanctions Bill

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Trump Maladministration

So Trump today signed the Russia sanctions bill, although he attached two lengthy signing statements to it. The full text is here.  The first obviously was written by a lawyer. The second may have been at least partly dictated by Trump.

Noah Bierman wrote for the Los Angeles Times:

Trump signed the bill without cameras, sending out a statement later in the morning saying that despite his belief that parts of the measure were unconstitutional, he was signing it into law for the “sake of national unity.”

He had little choice about signing the bill after nearly unanimous votes in both houses of Congress approved it, all but guaranteeing any veto would be overridden.

The bill prevents American companies from investing in many energy projects that are funded by Russian government interests.

It also prevents Trump from unilaterally lifting the  sanctions, giving Congress an extended period of time to review any presidential action that tries to upend or significantly change existing sanctions.

The signing statement(s) more or less say(s) that Trump will honor key provisions, but he gives himself room to challenge it in the future, on constitutional grounds.

From the first statement:

 My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions and will implement them in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations.

This seems to me to give himself room to do whatever he wants.

Finally, my Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies.

… or he’ll send his own friend Vinnie “the Claw” from Bayonne to rearrange your kneecaps.

The second statement is even better.

Still, the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking….

… 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.

This was after the Great Orange Mound of Blubber did absolutely nothing useful to help Republicans in Congress get any of their bills passed (not that I mind). Several pundits wrote that Trump couldn’t help close the deal because he never bothered to learn what was in the health care bill. Conservative writers also have lost any faith in Trump’s so-called deal-making skills. And here he’s once again calling out Congress for not getting the deal done.

I bet a lot of congressional Republicans are starting to hate him.

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