Donald Trump is awash in scandal this weekend due to his failed response to the Puerto Rico post-hurricane crisis and his cabinet member Tom Price’s controversial resignation. But even as Trump heads out on yet another taxpayer funded weekend golfing trip, his original scandal – his Russia mess – just found a way to get even worse for him.
Two months ago, Congress undertook a bipartisan effort to back Trump into a corner when it came to Russia. Congress passed legislation taking away Trump’s ability to ever ease sanctions on Russia, thus making him of less use to his puppet master Vladimir Putin. It passed so overwhelmingly that Trump couldn’t have succeeded in vetoing it, so he quietly signed it. But two months later, Trump still hasn’t implemented the provisions of the sanctions bill. He’s refusing to follow the law, even though he signed that law. Now he’s being backed in order a corner again.
Senators John McCain and Ben Cardin have come together to formally call out Trump for his failure to implement the sanctions bill (link). This is crucial because McCain is a Republican and Cardin is a Democrat, meaning this is once again a bipartisan effort. It forces Trump to now very publicly deal with a no-win issue that he’s been desperate to sidestep for rather obvious reasons.
Donald Trump must now quickly decide between two bad choices. He can go ahead and implement the Russian sanctions, which will anger Putin, and could prompt Russia to retaliate by leaking blackmail material about him. Or, if Trump refuses to promptly implement the sanctions, leaders of both political parties are preparing to publicly push the issue. Doing so would make Trump look even more guilty on Russia in the eyes of the public – at a time when he’s already awash in so many other kinds of exploding scandals.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report