Donald Trump recently sunk to a lawless new low, even for him, when he announced that he was flatly refusing to implement new sanctions against Russia that had been mandated in a bill he recently signed into law. The incident, despite being a key part of the biggest criminal treason scandal in United States history, has received startlingly little media attention – for now. What’s really going on with these sanctions, and how’s it going to come to a head?
First, let’s briefly talk about why this story is getting so little attention. The short answer is that everyone should care, but most people don’t, because they fail to understand that sanctions were Russia’s primary reason for shepherding Trump into the presidential race and rigging the election in his favor. Existing U.S. sanctions against Russia have already personally cost Vladimir Putin billions of dollars. He thought his meddling could get those sanctions lifted. Instead it prompted Congress to pass even tougher sanctions in bipartisan fashion.
Trump is refusing to implement those sanctions, even though he signed the bill into law, because his No. 1 job as a Russian puppet in the White House is to fight against sanctions as hard as he can. But “sanctions” sound like something from a civics class, and the media just can’t make the general public care, so it’s getting precious little coverage, even though it’s the centerpiece of the Trump-Russia scandal.
The tricky part is that the Republicans in Congress helped pass the sanctions bill back when they were leaning toward throwing Trump overboard so they could run for reelection in November on the premise that they deserved credit for taking the traitor down. But at some point in between when the sanctions bill was passed and when it was supposed to be enacted, the Republicans concluded they were going to lose the November election no matter what they did. So they decided to start propping up Trump’s rotting carcass for as long as possible and try to pass as much corrupt legislation as possible. If they’re going out, they might as well go out with money in their pockets.
Trump knew he could punt on the sanctions deadline because the Republican majority in Congress won’t do a damn thing about it. It’s not even clear what the precise congressional response is supposed to be when a president signs a bill into law and then promptly breaks that law by announcing he’s going to refuse to implement it. But the GOP could force Trump into line on these sanctions if it wanted to; his refusal to enforce them is an impeachable crime.
The trouble is, the Republicans in Congress simply aren’t willing to do it. The Democrats in Congress are screaming as loudly as they can about the sanctions, but the media is largely unwilling to cover the issue no matter how much the Dems set their own hair on fire. But keep in mind that if Trump had enforced the tougher sanctions against Russia, it would have helped him in the credibility department. It was an easy political win for him, but his boss Putin wouldn’t let him do it.
So Donald Trump missed a political opportunity here to help himself. While his criminal refusal to implement the sanctions still has yet to hurt him, keep in mind that the Republicans are all but giving up on the November elections; it’s why so many of the most prominent Republicans in Congress have already announced they’re not even going to bother to run for reelection. So if the Resistance does its job and gives the Democrats a majority in November, the sanctions will simply be one more criminal charge to add to the impeachment proceedings that will be immediately brought against Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report