President Trump today signed a bill aimed at punishing Russia for its interference in the 2016 election despite his reservations to tighten sanctions against Moscow.
The legislation was passed with rare and overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress last week.
The bill limits the president’s ability to lift or waive sanctions against Russia and keeps in place sanctions the Obama administration imposed last year. It also allows the U.S. to deny entry and revoke visas for individuals who have engaged in certain activities, such as selling arms to the Syrian government or abusing human rights.
Before the bill was signed, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed that neither he nor the president approved of the sanctions, believing they hinder the administration’s attempts to restore relations with Russia.
“The action by the Congress to put these sanctions in place and the way they did, neither the president nor I were very happy about that,” Tillerson told reporters Tuesday. “We were clear that we didn’t think it was going to be helpful to our efforts.”
The bill also imposes new sanctions on Iran and North Korea.
In response to the sanctions, Russia has ordered the U.S. to cut its diplomatic staff in the country by 755 people by Sept. 1.