White House official offers a bumbling excuse about why Trump has yet to sign Russia sanctions bill

Kremlin.ru / Kremlin.ru putin and trump smiling...
Kremlin.ru / Kremlin.ru

Last week the House and the Senate voted nearly unanimously on a bill imposing stricter sanctions on Russia for their meddling in the U.S. election. On Friday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Donald Trump had reviewed the text of the bill and intended to sign it. From the New York Times:

The White House said on Friday night that President Trump would sign legislation imposing sweeping sanctions against Russia and curtailing his own power to lift them by himself, bowing to the near-universal bipartisan will of Congress at the risk of escalating tension with Moscow.

“President Donald J. Trump read early drafts of the bill and negotiated regarding critical elements of it,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a written statement released late in the evening. “He has now reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it.”

Mr. Trump had little choice given that the bill passed the Senate on Thursday by a whopping 98-to-2 vote, two days after clearing the House by a 419-to-3 margin. Had Mr. Trump vetoed the legislation, he faced the politically embarrassing prospect of being overridden by a Congress controlled by his own party on a measure to penalize Moscow at the same time his associates are being investigated for their contacts with Russia.

Emphasis added. Five days later, Donald Trump still has not signed the bill and questions are beginning to mount about why he is dragging his feet. According to Kayla Tausche of CNBC, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is now telling reporters Trump hasn’t signed it because he doesn’t yet have the bill.

As we reported yesterday: @POTUS has not yet signed Russia sanctions bill, bc WH says it has not yet received the legislation.

— Kayla Tausche (@kaylatausche) August 1, 2017


Specifically, Sarah Sanders told me it had not been received.

— Kayla Tausche (@kaylatausche) August 1, 2017


In fact, according to the records at Congress.gov, the bill was formally sent to the White House. Here is a screenshot of the official record, which confirms the bill was “presented to the President” on July 28, 2017.

Screenshot of Congress.gov showing the Russia sanctions bill was sent to the White House on July 28, 2017

This backs up Sanders original statement that the bill had been received on July 28, was reviewed by Donald Trump and he intended to sign it. So, why hasn’t he signed it? They can’t play hide the bill forever. 

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