With no fanfare whatsoever (a decidedly UnTrumpian ceremony) Donald Trump signed into law the Russia Sanctions Bill which had been passed last month by overwhelming margins in both the Senate and the House. As reported by Jamie Dupree, long-time political commentator:
Trump’s hands were literally tied on this bill. The margin of the vote on the Sanctions bill (which also includes sanctions against Iran and North Korea) was veto-proof. The bill would have gone into effect without his signature ten days after it passed (not counting Sunday). A “pocket veto” was also impossible as the Senate is still in active session and the House is in pro-forma session.
Despite earlier statements from the White House that Trump had been actively involved in developing the legislation, as the article above states Trump called the bipartisan plan “significantly flawed.”
This legislation was passed to ensure that Trump’s power to unilaterally lift sanctions imposed against any of these three nations was severely limited. This concern about Trump’s willingness to do so dates back as early as the day Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for interference with the 2016 election.
Working for then the President-elect, the soon-to-be National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn allegedly assured Putin that new Trump administration would lift the sanctions as soon as possible. Many speculated that this assurance was the primary reason Putin did not retaliate against the U.S. at the time.
However, with the certainty earlier this week that Trump’s hands would be effectively tied by legislation he could not stop, Putin summarily called for the expulsion of over 700 U.S. diplomats from Russia. In other words, he got no “quid” for the “quo.”