Of all the various scandals that have now enveloped Donald Trump, his refusal to implement Russian sanctions has put him the most directly at odds with his own party in Congress. The sanctions bill passed almost unanimously, and Trump only reluctantly signed it because his veto would have been overridden anyway. Now we’ve learned how Trump has managed to not implement those sanctions – and it’s come at the hands of a nefarious move by Rex Tillerson.
After the Russia sanctions bill passed, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson scrapped the office at the State Department that would have been responsible for implementing the sanctions, according to a new Foreign Policy report (link). The move preemptively made it all but impossible for the Trump administration to move forward with the sanctions against Russia – which of course was the entire point. Based on the timing, it’s clear this was purposely done to undermine the sanctions bill.
Moreover, it’s impossible to envision Tillerson having made this move unless Donald Trump signed off on it. This means Trump has once again gone to extraordinary lengths to try to protect Russia from sanctions. The U.S. sanctions against Russia have personally cost Russian President Vladimir Putin billions of dollars in personal wealth. Although it’s not widely understood by the public, those sanctions are the primary reason Putin rigged the election to get Trump into office. Now Trump and Tillerson have both lost any plausible deniability when it comes to their delay in implementing the sanctions bill.
Even as some members of the Republican Congress are now scrambling to invent fake new scandals about Hillary Clinton, in the hope of protecting Donald Trump from his Russian collusion scandal just long enough to pass their tax giveaway to the wealthy, they’ve drawn the line on sanctions. Two of the GOP Senators who have drawn the line against Trump, Bob Corker and John McCain, have made clear they won’t let go of this sanctions scandal. Now they essentially have a smoking gun.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report