Trump slams Congress for 'dangerous low' in US-Russia relations and failure on health care

Trump signed a bill yesterday that placed sanctions on Russia.

ByABC News
August 3, 2017, 9:57 AM

— -- President Donald Trump is blasting Congress for U.S.-Russia relations' being at a "very dangerous low" after he reluctantly signed a bill yesterday punishing the country for its interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The move comes amid a series of investigations by Congress and the FBI into Russian interference as well as possible Trump camp collusion with the country during the campaign season — an allegation that has been vehemently denied.

It follows several unsuccessful attempts in the Senate, with extensive prodding from Trump, to pass legislation that would repeal or overhaul Obamacare.

The sanctions bill passed with rare and overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress last week.

However, in a signing statement, Trump criticized Congress for its "haste" to pass the bill and slammed the measure for including what he called "clearly unconstitutional provisions."

"The bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch's authority to negotiate," he argued in a separate statement. "Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking."

He also said his administration expects Congress to "refrain from using this flawed bill."

Trump added, "As president, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress."

He said he hopes Russian-U.S. relations improve so sanctions are no longer necessary. Under the new legislation, he would need congressional approval to lift or modify the sanctions.

His latest tweet is a departure from what Vice President Mike Pence said earlier this week.

"But the president and our Congress are unified in our message to Russia," Pence said on a trip to the country of Georgia.

Responding to Trump's latest tweet, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said that while he shares the president's disappointment over health care, he doesn't see U.S.-Russia relations as Congress' fault.

"Our relationship is at not maybe at a historic low, but it is pretty low, and the responsibility falls primarily on Vladimir Putin," Cotton said in an interview with MSNBC this morning.

And Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California, ridiculed Trump's "bromance" with Putin, tweeting, "Gee, Mr. President - so sorry we got in the way of your bromance with the dictator Putin & won't let you weaken our nation for him. #NotSorry."

Trump's statement on Wednesday drew criticism from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who said he wished Trump would be as vocal about "Russia's aggressive behavior" as he has been with his concerns about the sanctions legislation.

"The concerns expressed in the president's signing statement are hardly surprising, though misplaced," McCain said in a statement Wednesday.

In response to the sanctions, Russia demanded the U.S. cut its diplomatic staff.

In a post to his Facebook page Wednesday, Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev said that the signing of the sanctions bill ended the hope that Russia's relations with the Trump administration would improve and that the U.S. "declared an all-out trade war."

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