On Saturday, Congressional Democrats and Republicans declared they had reached an agreement on new legislation that would tighten the Russia sanctions. The agreement will make it difficult for President Trump to ease or lift the sanctions.
Mixed Signals from the White House
The new piece of legislation would require Trump to compile a report on actions that would bring changes to US policies implicating Russia. Congress then will have 30 days to analyze the report and decide on either to reject or uphold the changes.
The legislation was initially meant to sanction Iran but has since been revised to include North Korea and now Russia. With the bill, Congress seeks to punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the alleged implication in the 2016 US elections. Congress maintains that the bill has bipartisan support and it will not warrant a veto in any case. The bill expects a vote on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the White House has been sending mixed signals on the proposed legislation. The new Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, declared on ABC:
We support where the legislation is now and will continue working with the House and Senate to put those tough sanctions in place on Russia until the situation in Ukraine is fully resolved and it certainly isn’t right now,
On the other hand, the Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, said on CNN
My guess is … that he’s going to make that decision shortly,
In only six months, Trump’s administration has been facing continuous difficulties with the investigation on the alleged colluding with Russia in his 2016 campaign.
What Does This Mean for Europe?
If Trump signs the new Russia sanctions into law, the European Union is ready to retaliate. At the G20 summit, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker voiced his concerns about the US sanctions. The new legislation might hurt the European countries that make legitimate deals with Russia on shipping, mining and rail transport.
However, any action against the US will need significant support from the member states. Some of the states are reluctant to disrupt relations with the United States.
Meanwhile, the Russian government denies any accusations of collusion.
Image source: en.putin.kremlin.ru