July 24, 2017 (San Diego) A showdown is coming between President Donald Trump and the United States Congress. The Senate passed S. 722, which will sanction Iran, North Korea, and the Russian Federation.
This bill affirms President Barack Obama’s Executive order of March 6, 2014. This order blocked property to certain Russian citizens and institutions after the Russian intervention in Ukraine
The legislation states that:
On December 18, 2014, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 was enacted (Public Law 113–272; 22 U.S.C. 8921 et seq.), which includes provisions directing the President to impose sanctions on foreign persons that the President determines to be entities owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation or nationals of the Russian Federation that manufacture, sell, transfer, or otherwise provide certain defense articles into Syria.
The legislation also recognizes the actions of the Obama White House regarding cyber activities. These are the ones that “have significant impacts on an entity, our national security, or the broader economy require a unique approach to response efforts”
This punishes the Main Intelligence Directorate, the Federal Security Service, the Special Technology Center, the Esage lab, The autonomous non-commercial organization known as the Professional Association of Designers of Data Processing Systems (also known as ANO PO KSI) in Moscow, Russian Federation.
It also punishes:
- Igor Valentinovich Korobov, the head of the GRU
- Sergey Aleksandrovich Gizunov. He was involved in Signals Intelligence for the GRU
- Igor Olegovich Kostyukov, a deputy at the GRU for Korobov.
- Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev. Another deputy for Korobov.
The legislation also recognizes the reality of the Russian influence campaign against the United States. The legislative package reads:
On January 6, 2017, an assessment of the United States intelligence community entitled, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections” stated, “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the United States presidential election.” The assessment warns that “Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the U.S. Presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against U.S. allies and their election processes”
The Trump White House refuses to admit to this influence campaign, even when both Obama and Trump appointees have said this is real. This legislative package also refuses to return facilities to the Russian government that was seized during the waning days of the Obama White House, to punish Russia and take away what the government said were spying facilities in the United States.
The Senate requires that the US work with allied governments to punish the Russian Federation for its actions in the Ukraine and later on. However, this should not affect bilateral relations between the two countries. This implies that the relation is not good, to begin with. While the Trump White House wants to improve those relations, the Senate is not. Given the vote in the House is expected to be veto proof as well, this is most of the Congress.
The Washington Post, among others, is reporting that the president is open to signing this. Partly because both the Senate and House expect a veto proof bill. This would be embarrassing for the president.