U.S. Congress Goes Way Overboard, Threatens Sanctions against Russia, Iran, and Europe

In the last week of July, the United States Congress passed the Iran-Russia-North Korea sanctions bill quasi unanimously (419-3 in the House of Representatives and 98-2 in the Senate). The intent of the bill is clearly to put the United States back into direct confrontation with Russia and to seriously weaken the President’s power to carry out foreign policy, as provided under the Constitution.

President Trump, knowing a presidential veto would be overridden in the Congress, then signed the bill into law on Aug. 2, although he declared in a signing statement that a number of its provisions were “clearly unconstitutional”.

While it was known that an overwhelming majority was in favor of the sanctions against Iran, the Russian section that was added to the bill shows that almost the entire Congress – whether they know it or not — has rallied to the myth of “Russia-gate”, i.e., that Russia manipulated the U.S. presidential elections to ensure the election of Donald Trump. That myth has been conclusively refuted by a group of former U.S. intelligence officers.

The bill cites in the findings section the Jan. 6, 2017 intelligence “assessment” claiming that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the United States presidential election,” and worrying that Moscow will use that “Putin-ordered campaign” to influence the election processes “worldwide”. For the record, that assessment did not represent the consensus of the intelligence agencies, as is commonly asserted, but was written by a hand-picked group of analysts from only three of the 17 agencies comprising that community.

The bill further provides that in order to lift any sanctions passed by the Congress, be they on persons or states, the President of the United States must obtain permission from both Houses. It also requires the President to impose sanctions on anyone who engages in cybersecurity activities on behalf of Russia. Those are clearly unconstitutional provisions.

By passing such a text, as the LaRouche Political Action Committee pointed out, the Congressmen have made themselves openly complicit with the blatant attempt by the “deep state” (financial interests of Wall Street, the intelligence apparatus, and the mass media) to overturn democracy and carry out a coup in Washington.

What has the Europeans up in arms, and rightly so, is the section on “Ukrainian energy security,” which is a bald-faced assertion of the Congress’ right to interfere in Europe’s affair. The text states US policy is “to continue to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline given its detrimental impacts on the European Unions energy security, gas market development in Central and Eastern Europe, and energy reforms in Ukraine; and that the United States Government should prioritize the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy.”

The sanctions imposed on North Korea in the same bill are likewise an attempt to poison the good relations that Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have developed. They target third party persons and businesses, primarily in China and Russia, that engage with Pyongyang, and mandate the President to impose U.S. property-based sanctions on foreign persons that employ North Korean “forced laborers”, the latter term referring to North Korean contract workers, a provision that applies mainly to China and Russia.

The attempt to proclaim United States law applicable anywere in the world is hotly contested, including in Europe.