With Trump’s refusal to really acknowledge just how shady his relationship with Russia is, Democratic leaders in the House have introduced legislation that would prevent Trump from doing any favors for Russia — such as lift those nasty little sanctions.
Surprisingly, the bill is a bipartisan effort between lawmakers and is a response to Trump’s obvious good nature towards Russian President Vladimir Putin. One sponsor of the bill, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the legislation is meant to “ensure that Russia receives no sanctions relief until it earns it.” Lifting sanctions would require congressional approval, allowing for a process to review what corrective actions Russia could take.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) who was also present at the press conference described the bill. He remarked:
‘This act will ensure the Trump administration cannot unilaterally repeal or lessen sanctions placed on Russia and Putin by the United States in response to their pernicious behavior in Ukraine as well as their meddling in our elections. I’m dismayed such a step is even necessary.
Trump currently has the authority to reverse sanctions on Russia that were placed by the Obama administration through executive orders. The sanctions were placed by Obama in 2014 and extended during Obama’s last week in the White House to March 6, 2018.
Also with Hoyer and Schiff, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) was present to announce the legislation. Co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Tom Rooney (R-FL), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).
Senators planning to introduce a “partner bill” in the Senate include: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).
Schiff admitted in the press conference that the drama surrounding Michael Flynn’s resignation and his phone calls with the Russian ambassador were what really prompted the legislation. He said the situation “makes this legislation all the more important.”
Whether the entire GOP will support the bipartisan legislation remains questionable. However, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) seemed supportive when he appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning.
‘I think we should have done these sanctions a while ago. I was frustrated the Obama administration took so long to put these sanctions in place. So, if those sanctions were to be watered down, I would for sure support codifying them and making sure that they don’t get watered down because I do believe Russia is a global menace and their interests are not aligned with our interests.’
He also disagreed with the President’s idea that a relationship with Russia could be strengthened and improved.
‘The question is can we trust Russia, and I say the answer is no. New administrations, for reasonable and practical reasons, try to improve the relationship because it would be nice if their interests aligned with ours. I just don’t think it’s ever going to happen or work.’
You can watch Rep. Schiff’s comments below.
Featured image via Getty Images / Pool.