WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump told reporters this morning that he was “bigly close” to signing a sanctions bill that was delivered after an overwhelmingly bipartisan effort in both chambers of Congress.
Once the president signs the sanctions bill, the Russian government and several key Russian figures personally, will be held accountable for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The intelligence community is united in its assessment that Russia picked Trump to win, and made a concerted effort to sway the election through the use of active measures like hacking and disseminating negative information only on Hillary Clinton. This morning Trump said, however, that he is waiting to get input from one “crucial person to the whole shebang.” Trump said he sent word to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he’d like to speak about when would be a good time to sign for the sanctions to take effect.
“I’m just saying that I’d like to get input from a friend,” Trump told reporters, “and I consider Vladimir a friend. I’ve always been a ‘You collude with my back, and I’ll collude with yours’ kinda guy. You know, one hand colludes with the other.”
The president believes it’s “completely natural” for Putin to have a say on when the sanctions against his country are to start or begin.
“First of all, look at his name,” Trump said, “It practically says ‘put in,’ you know, like he’s going to PUT IN his two cents? So that just seems like no-brainer there.”
Trump said that it’s “only fair” that he ask Putin for his input.
“It’s only fair that he get a chance to weigh in, isn’t it,” Trump asked rhetorically, “We only put people in jail or give them traffic tickets when it’s most convenient for them. Simple logic, people.”
When asked about Trump’s decision to seek his input on signing the sanctions bill, President Putin said on Russian state television that he is “always pleased when an investment pays off.”
“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen it,” Putin said, sitting on a large dais in a room that overlooks a massive construction project, “and right now, President Trump is scratching my back, which is nice.”
Putin said that he’ll advise Trump to sign the sanctions bill “at some point, maybe.”
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“Besides, what will Congress do if he drags his feet for, say, four years? It’s not like Congress is some co-equal branch of government, right,” Putin asked.
A reporter told him that in America, yes, Congress is a co-equal branch of government and can simply override his veto.
“Oh, that sucks, we’ll have to do something about that, Don and I,” Putin conceded, “but it’s not like he can’t just run out the clock. You can’t override a veto on a sanctions bill if you never sign or veto it.”
Chuck Shumer, Senate Minority Leader, said that he and his fellow Democrats are “nearly outraged enough to do something” over the bill sitting on President Trump’s desk without signing it. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed Schumer’s sentiments, but said that the GOP is in a particularly tough spot between their base and their consciences.
“We all know that we should be standing up to Trump,” McConnell said, “but we also know our base loves to hear how we’re cutting taxes. Oh, not for them. They’ll pay for the tax cuts in losses of services and support from their government, but yeah. This is sad and all, but you know, tax cuts.”
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.