Congress gave Donald Trump a deadline on sanctions for Russia's interference in our election. He ignored it.
Donald Trump seems committed to undermining the new congressionally approved sanctions that are scheduled to take effect against Russia. The penalties were passed overwhelmingly this summer as Congress moved to punish Russia for its unprecedented role in interfering with last year’s U.S. elections.
Trump dragged his feet in terms of signing the bill in August, and now seems to be using the tragedies in Puerto Rico and Las Vegas as a distraction from the fact the administration is slow-walking the provision of the sanctions bill that requires the White House to specify who are the targets of the penalties.
Congress gave Trump 60 days to spell out which entities belong to Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors. In recent weeks, Trump has spent his time fuming at black NFL players, the mayor of San Juan, the "ingrates" of Puerto Rico, and, as always, the "fake media" that refuses to give him the praise he thinks he deserves.
What he did not do is fulfill his obligation set by Congress to issue guidance on Russians sanctions.
Late last week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) wrote to Trump and urged him to meet the Oct. 1 deadline in a way that "expansively defines these actors to ensure that the perpetrators of the attack on our democracy last year — the defense and intelligence sectors — are sanctioned appropriately."
The White House ignored the deadline.
His dismissals mount even as bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee held a Wednesday afternoon news conference to provide a “progress report” on its Russian investigation into the sabotage of the 2016 election, and whether the Trump campaign colluded
In August, Trump was forced to sign the Russia sanctions bill, which passed the House 419-3 and the Senate 98-2.
Still angry about the lopsided vote, Trump lashed out during the bill-signing process and released a bizarre companion statement. In it, he denounced the bill as being “seriously flawed” and said it contained “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.” He also downplayed Russia’s election interference, and bragged about what a successful businessman he is, saying, "I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars."
Days after his reluctant signing, Trump blamed Congress for damaging the United States’ relationship with Russia.
Given the choice, Trump will always obfuscate on Russia.