President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a bill that will impose further sanctions on Russia and gives Congress new powers to block him from easing sanctions against Moscow in the future, the White House has confirmed.
“President Donald J. Trump read early drafts of the bill and negotiated regarding critical elements of it,” a statement from the White House read. “He has now reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it.”
The bill, which passed both the House and the Senate with veto-proof majorities, imposes sanctions on Russia for their alleged interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as their failure to implement a ceasefire in Ukraine.
It also includes further sanctions on Iran and North Korea for their widespread support for terrorism and development of missile technologies.
The legislation effectively cornered Trump, given that if he decided to reject the bill, it would likely receive enough support in both chambers to override the veto and be passed into law.
However, there had been some doubt as to whether Trump would sign the legislation, after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Monday that Trump would not make a final decision until presented with a final copy.
Meanwhile, newly appointed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci told CNN earlier week that Trump was still undecided on the matter.
“He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians,” Scaramucci said.
In a typical jab at the president, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said the legislation as “long overdue,” adding that “very little” action had been taken against Russia since the election.
“The United States of America needs to send a strong message to Vladimir Putin and any other aggressor that we will not tolerate attacks on our democracy,” he said.