White House pushes incoherent talking point about Russian sanctions bill

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Scaramucci says Trump may veto it because it isn’t tough enough.

White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the media at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Donald Trump may veto the Russia sanctions bill expected to pass the House. Instead, the president will “negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians,” according to White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who called in to CNN unexpectedly Thursday morning.

“He may decide to veto the sanctions and be tougher on the Russians than the Congress,” Scaramucci told CNN New Day host Chris Cuomo. “He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate a even tougher deal against the Russians.”

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The sanctions bill, which includes sanctions on Iran and North Korea, passed the Senate by a margin of 98–2 and then stalled in the House. On Thursday morning, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Foreign Relationships Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) announced the House and Senate had reached a deal to send the sanctions to Trump’s desk.

“Following very productive discussions with Leader McCarthy, I am glad to announce that we have reached an agreement that will allow us to send sanctions legislation to the president’s desk,” Corker said in a statement.

The question of whether Trump will veto the sanctions remains unanswered. But the notion that Trump would veto the bill in order to negotiate “a tougher deal” against Russia directly contradicts the fact that the White House was openly lobbying House representatives to water down the bill earlier this month.

If Trump is serious about wanting tougher sanctions on Russian than those Congress wants to implement, there’s no reason Trump couldn’t sign the sanctions bill and then lobby for stronger measures.

“He has a counter-intuitive, counter-punching personality,” Scaramucci said on CNN. “Let me tell you, I was in Youngstown, Ohio with him, and you cannot believe the fan base there. The American people get it. The American people like what he’s doing. The establishment does not like what he’s doing. He’s going to disrupt the establishment.”

The Russia sanctions bill come in the midst of an ongoing investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian intervention in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

Russia has also recently been threatening “retaliation measures” if the Trump administration does not return espionage-linked compounds that were seized by the Obama administration in response to Russia’s interference in the election. The White House has reportedly been open to the idea and negotiating a deal to return the compounds because they want to “give collaboration a chance.”

White House pushes incoherent talking point about Russian sanctions bill was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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