The Associated Press dropped a new bombshell Wednesday: “Senate overwhelmingly approves a new package of sanctions to punish Russia for meddling in 2016 election.” These new sanctions would also reinforce existing sanctions on Russia placed by the executive orders of President Obama. The Russian sanctions were an amendment to a bill of sanctions on Iran, even as they have just been attacked by ISIS in Tehran, which might also conflict with the Iran Deal made during Obama’s administration:
BREAKING: Senate overwhelmingly approves new package of sanctions to punish Russia for meddling in 2016 election.
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 14, 2017
Yesterday, The New York Times revealed that Senate leaders reached an agreement (!!!!) to place new sanctions on Russia, on “corrupt Russian actors” and on anyone who took part in “malicious cyberactivity on behalf of the Russian government” to interfere in our presidential election. The sanctions are also in response to Russia’s actions in the Ukraine and Syria.
This is in stark contrast to the stance of Trump and his associates, who seem to have made sweet love to Russia since well before the election. The Times said this “would place the White House in an uncomfortable position” as investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia unfold.
Most amazingly, the word “bipartisan” appears – as in “bipartisan sanctions.”
That’s amazing news at a time when the two parties could not be more at odds. We are talking Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer here – actually agreeing on something??? The bipartisan effort creates pressure on Trump should he decide to veto the bill, but then, he’s also apparently considered the disastrous idea of firing Special Counsel Mueller, so who knows at any given moment what Trump will do? The new Russian sanctions do, however, mean he could not remove the sanctions placed by Obama of his own accord.
So, who might you expect to express concerns about the new sanctions? If you guessed, “Rex Tillerson,” then you would be correct. Trump’s ostensible goal of further collaborating with Russia on projects of interest, such as oil pipelines, might have just been hampered. Exxon stands to lose billions over the sanctions Obama put in place, but then that’s why taking blatantly obvious conflicts of interest into account is important when appointing people to the top levels of the American government. Do you see now, Republicans?
While in Syria, Tillerson had said that relations with Russia were “progressing in a positive way, but it is far too early in the process to say whether they’re going to bear fruit.”
What sort of oily fruit might that be, Mr. Tillerson?
The Hill reported that Tillerson asked for flexibility with the new sanctions.
“I would urge Congress to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation,” stated Tillerson.
It seems the word, “diplomatic” and “opportunistic” might have to be swapped there.
For once, we can be proud of something our Senate apparently (is this real?) just did in regards to Russia. Bernie Sanders believes we should delay the new sanctions on Iran in light of the terrorist attack there as well as the Iran Deal.
We are reaching a critical pivot between getting to the truth about Russia’s relationship with Trump, his associates, his campaign, and his family, or heading down a dark road to more “alternative facts” and questionable relationships between Russia and our own government. Hopefully, the sanctions on Russia will be a step that will tilt us in favor of the former. Also hopefully, diplomacy and international relations with Putin will move forward with more care and reasonable caution – less opportunism and injudicious disregard going forward. But seeing the news lately, it’s anybody’s guess.