The sanctions bill targeting Russia, Iran and North Korea that the United States Congress passed almost unanimously in the last week of July is a flagrant violation not only of international law, in that it decrees that U.S. law must also apply to sovereign foreign countries, but also of the American Constitution, as it severely narrows the President’s power to define and carry out foreign policy. The intent of the bill is clearly to torpedo the Trump Administration’s efforts to improve relations with Russia. That, in turn, seriously heightens the danger of thermonuclear world war.
The new bill also provides for sanctions on non U.S. companies that are involved in developing Russian energy exports to Europe. It is specifically aimed at the Nord Stream 2 project, to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany via a new pipeline.
President Trump signed the legislation, as there was no way he could have avoided an override by two-thirds of both Houses had he chosen to veto it. However, he tweeted right after signing that, as a result of this bill, “Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time and dangerous low. You can thank Congress….”
In his signing statement Trump noted that it includes “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions,” particularly those related to the President’s unique authority to deal with foreign governments. His Administration “will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress…and will implement them in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations.” The bill would explicitly prevent the President from easing or lifting any sanctions voted by Congress without prior Congressional approval.
Russian Prime Minister Medvedev reacted very sharply to the sanctions, by stating that he sees no hope for an improvement in U.S.-Russian relations, although President Putin’s response was more nuanced. Cooperation has continued on such issues as Syria and North Korea. The Chinese, who are also targetted indirectly in the wording of the sanctions against North Korea, indicated they were willing to help Russia overcome the economic consequences of the new sanctions, if need be. At this point, as officials on both sides have stressed, Russo-Chinese relations are better than they ever have been.
Thus, although the Wall Street “deep state” apparatus, with the support of Congress, has won this battle against the Trump Administration, the war is still on. The intelligence community, working through Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, has opened a new grand jury investigation, in yet another “fishing expedition” to come up with evidence of collusion between the Trump team and Moscow, none of which has been produced so far. The White House, on the other hand, has indicated its intention to go after the “leakers” in the administration and to continue to “clean out the swamp” in Washington. Otherwise, there are very mixed signals coming from the Administration, as witnessed in Vice President Pence’s anti-Russia raving during his recent trip to Europe.
However, the recent VIPS memo, proving that the entire “Russiagate” story is a fake, is the most effective weapon the White House could wield to counter the coup against the elected President and to prevent the danger of war. That memo has not been covered by any major media, which are all part of the “deep state” apparatus, but has been supported on various blogs and by Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who courageously sent a letter to his colleagues calling their attention to the VIPS finding that “destroy the credibility of the charges that Russia hacked the system, disclosed the emails, and thus greatly impacted the outcome of the last election.”
Further support for the VIPS memo has come from Paul Craig Roberts’ blog, from Col. Pat Lang (ret.), a former senior officer of U.S. military intelligence, and from Scott Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector who exposed the lies over Iraq’s WMD.