Trump has delayed sanctions until the last minute, and it's obvious why.
Donald Trump has dragged his feet in implementing the latest round of sanctions against Russia, and with one day left until the deadline, a top Democrat is calling him out for it.
It was August 2017 when Trump reluctantly signed a new sanctions package against Russia, while issuing a bizarre signing statement complaining about the sanctions. That legislation set an October 1, 2017, deadline for implementation, which Trump missed by more than three weeks.
Now, there's a new deadline of January 29 looming, and Trump has still not acted.
In an interview on Sunday's edition of CNN's "Reliable Sources," House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) called Trump out for his repeated failure to implement sanctions, and explained the rather obvious meaning of Trump's foot-dragging.
When host Brian Stelter asked Swalwell about the sanctions, the congressman noted that "tomorrow is the deadline, again, for the president to impose them."
"When people ask what evidence is out there," Swalwell added, "aside from the indictments that we've seen and the contacts that they failed to disclose, I think that the president's unwillingness to impose sanctions against Russia shows that he feels like he owes them something, because they did something for him."
Indeed, even if Trump does end up honoring the Jan. 29 deadline, it will be at the last minute, and will be the continuation of a pattern in which he does the bare minimum he can get away with. Trump only signed the sanctions bill after it passed with veto-proof majorities, and waited a full week to do so.
But he also appeared to make what amounted to a legal argument against the sanctions bill, saying in his signing statement that the law "encroaches on the executive branchs authority to negotiate."
Whatever the result, Trump's delays aren't fooling anyone. But if Swalwell is correct, they are designed to send the clear message to the Russians that Trump is doing his best to do nothing about their attack on our democracy.