Trump gives up, signs Russia sanctions bill, mulls China sanctions

03 Aug 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar
Trump signs Russia sanctions bill

President Trump has signed the legislation imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea for violating international norms.

The legislation, backed overwhelmingly by both Republicans and Democrats in both houses of the US Congress, intends to target Russia for the alleged interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections and the 2014 Crimean annexation among other things.

Is the Congress keeping Trump in check?

In context: Trump signs Russia sanctions bill

03 Aug 2017Trump gives up, signs Russia sanctions bill, mulls China sanctions

ContextWhy have sanctions been imposed on these countries?

Sanctions have been imposed on Russia for the 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and its alleged interference with the 2016 US elections through colluding with the Trump campaign and orchestrating a cyber-attack diminishing Hilary Clinton's winning prospects.

Iran and North Korea have been targeted for their ballistic missile programs and alleged human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

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Trump raises objections to the bill

ObjectionsTrump raises objections to the bill

Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson had earlier stated that he and the President didn't believe the sanctions would help their diplomatic efforts with Russia.

Trump had termed the bill significantly flawed and slammed the legislation for including 'unconstitutional provisions'.

Particularly irksome for him was the provision which mandates for 30-day notice to be provided to the Congress for reconsidering the President's bid for rollback.

Russia responds

Prior to the passing of the bill in House of Representatives, Russian Deputy-Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said it would place a "dangerous mine under the foundation of US-Russia ties". He further added that Russophobe hysteria shows no signs of dying down in the US.

Meanwhile, is Trump losing his patience with China?

AnalysisWhat now?

Recent instances including Trump's failure to push through Obamacare repeal and overwhelming Congressional majority forcing him to sign the sanctions bill, is indicative that the Congress is pulling hard on the President's reins.

However, calls for sanctions on Russia is unlikely to significantly derail US-Russia bilateral relations. Given the importance of China in handling North Korea, US-China relations are likely to remain unaffected too.