Some Republicans and Democrats agree that President Donald Trump cannot be trusted when it comes to relations with the Russian Federation. Given the president’s suspicious relationship with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s government, a bipartisan group in Congress is proposing legislation that would take away Mr. Trump’s ability to unilaterally alter sanctions.
Republican Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Democrats Ben Cardin, Claire McCaskill and Sherrod Brown in proposing the Russian Sanctions Review Act, The Hill reported Wednesday. The new law, if passed, would require President Trump to consult Congress before changing outstanding sanctions on Russia.
“To provide relief at this time would send the wrong signal to Russia and our allies who face Russian oppression. Sanctions relief must be earned, not given,” said Sen. Graham.
The conjoined congressmen have plenty of reasons to doubt Trump’s motivation behind calls to retract sanctions. In 2013, Trump told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts that he has an outstanding relationship with Mr. Putin:
“I do have a relationship with him…And, uh I think it’s very interesting to see what’s happened. I mean look. He’s done very brilliant job, in terms of what he represents, and who he’s representing.”
President Trump, in the type of public lie that has become typical of his new administration, sent out a tweet Tuesday that directly contradicted that recorded interview.
I don’t know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy – yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2017
There are also unsettled allegations leveled at Mr. Trump in a dossier produced by a former British spy. According to the intel report, the Russian surveillance office, known as the FSB, has video of the billionaire paying several prostitutes to urinate on his mattress at a Moscow hotel room. The dossier purports that Russia is holding the recorded tape as a type of blackmail against the newly elected president.
White House-Kremlin connections go beyond the president himself. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has repeatedly denounced sanctions against Russia, was once the recipient of President Putin’s “Order of Friendship” award. Sen. McCain specifically blasted that award on national television, along with Mr. Tillerson’s business ties to the Putin administration during his time as CEO at ExxonMobil.
Given mounting evidence that Mr. Putin — Forbes’ most powerful world figure four years running — is using Trump’s administration as a type of puppet, it’s probably a safe idea to start installing some sandbags around the Capitol Building. Hopefully the rest of Congress gets the message.