Thursday, June 29, 2017
Rethuglican Games On Russia Sanctions Bill
By an overwhelming bi-partisan vote of 98 - 2 on June 15, the Senate passed a bill increasing sanctions on Russia and blocking Putin supporter and demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump from unilaterally lifting sanctions, as he would clearly love to do to reward Russia for its help in electing him and to protect his business interests with them. The bill was sent to the House for a vote, where Rump has been putting pressure on them to water down the bill to make it more Russia / Rump friendly, despite the unanimous consensus in the intelligence community that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections to benefit Rump and will continue to do so if not stopped.
Rump's actions to water down or even stop the sanctions bill are another blatant, public sign of his fealty to Moscow, and it appears some House Rethuglicans are OK with that. In a delaying, procedural maneuver, the House has returned the bill to the Senate, with objections that all legislation affecting revenue must originate in the House. Senate Democrats are willing to go along with House-drafted language that would address that objection, but have not received assurances from House Rethugs that that would be the final change to win passage by the House. A close eye needs to be kept on these party-before-country Rethuglicans.
The takeaway from this episode is that Rump has an existential reason for making Russia happy, something that overrides the national interest and his political survival. We trust that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will find out what that reason happens to be.