White House Comms Director Anthony Scaramucci told CNN that President Trump may veto the tough Russia sanctions bill headed to his desk. The House passed the bill in an overwhelming veto-proof 419-3 vote. The Senate will also likely have sufficient votes to override the president’s veto.
Trump has threatened to veto the bill “and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians,” Scaramucci said.
But if he vetoes the bill, it will certainly appear as if he’s caving to Russian demands, not “negotiating a tougher deal.” The Russians have already preemptively responded to the bill, by seizing two American diplomatic properties and ordering staff cuts to trim American diplomatic presence in Russia to match Russia’s in the U.S.
If Trump vetoes the bill and is overridden by Congress (a likely outcome), he will appear feckless and impotent in dealing with Putin.
Either way, this is checkmate for Russia in its chess match with Trump.
Trump will be forced to bend to the will of Congress, and will be left with little to negotiate on Russia, while investigations of his administration and campaign’s ties to the Russians continue.