President Donald Trump

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Trump blames Congress for ‘dangerous’ relationship with Russia

Russia's prime minister says new U.S. sanctions amount to 'full-fledged economic war.'


Andrew Couts


Posted on Aug 3, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 9:49 pm CDT

President Donald Trump on Thursday blamed the United States Congress for souring America’s relationship with Russia just hours after Russia’s prime minister said his administration “has demonstrated total impotence.”

Trump’s attack on Congress comes one day after the president signed into law a bill that prevents him from rolling back sanctions the Obama administration imposed on Russia over its attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. Trump said the bill included “clearly unconstitutional” provisions and called the legislation “seriously flawed” because it “encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.”

The new law, which imposed sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea, received such broad bipartisan support that Congress could have overturned a presidential veto.

In a Facebook post published on Wednesday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev wrote that Trump’s signing of the bill “ends hopes for improving our relations with the new U.S. administration” and called the sanctions “a full-fledged economic war on Russia.”

Medvedev added that “the Trump administration has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way.”

“The issue of new sanctions came about, primarily, as another way to knock Trump down a peg,” Medvedev wrote. “New steps are to come, and they will ultimately aim to remove him from power.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to the sanctions by seizing two American diplomatic compounds and by ordering the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic staff in the country by 755 people, a drastic cut the likes of which have not occurred since the waning days of the Cold War.

Although the U.S. intelligence community unanimously concluded that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election in an effort to hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton—and help Trump as a result—the president has refused to take a hard line against Russia. Trump has said he believes Russia waged cyberattacks against U.S. political entities in the run-up to the 2016 election; however, he has also continually cast doubt on Russia’s involvement, suggesting other countries may also be to blame.

“Well, I think it was Russia, and I think it could have been other people and other countries. Could have been a lot of people interfered,” Trump said at a press conference Germany early last month. “I said it very simply. I think it could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other countries—and I won’t be specific, but I think a lot of people interfere. I think it’s been happening for a long time, it’s been happening for many many years.”

Trump, along with members of his team and administration, face growing scrutiny in a federal investigation into Russia’s election interference, including probes into whether the Trump team colluded with Russia and if Trump took actions to obstruct the investigation as president.

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*First Published: Aug 3, 2017, 9:17 am CDT