Washington, D.C. – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) spoke with the Washington Post’s David Ignatius Wednesday morning about a bill, which passed the House Tuesday and is expected to pass the Senate, that would impose tougher sanctions on Russia and has a provision allowing congressional review of steps by the president to ease those sanctions.
Due to the bill allowing review of Trump easing sanctions on Russia, some in Congress and the media are framing the legislation as a rebuke of Trump.
“I would not frame this as a rebuke which I know some editorial pages have done in the last couple days,” Corker emphasized, “I wouldn’t, that’s not what this is, this is a laying out of what Congress believes to be important to this nation pushing back against a country which is acting in nefarious ways, challenging democracy, doing things that are destabilizing the world and we are pushing back in an appropriate way.”
“This is not something against this president we did the same thing with President Obama,” he added referencing the Iran deal, “I led that effort okay and we weren’t successful in being able to stop the Iran deal, we got 58 votes towards 60, would’ve never gotten a two-thirds majority but we were able to question and these 90 day increments that take place now where the president has to certify that was a result of that legislation.”
Corker was referencing a requirement under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act that the president certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement to Congress every 90 days.
Corker noted that with this sanctions bill his goal was “to bring back to the Senate and to Congress more of the power and control over foreign policy that for years as you know decades, generations really has been easing away to the executive branch.”
Corker also said that congressional review for the lifting of sanctions “is something more and more that we’re going to be doing.”
“Congressional review,” he explained, “says that in the event the executive branch chooses to lift sanctions if Congress believes that that is not a wise step that somehow or another this is changing our trajectory foreign policy wise in a manner that is not healthy we have the ability to try to overturn that and that’s a tough step you know the President can veto that then it takes two-thirds of each body but I think it’s an important aspect and should be a part of all that we do in the future.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders indicated Sunday on ABC’s This Week that the president would sign the bill. She told reporters aboard Air Force One Monday that Trump is "going to study that legislation and see what the final product looks like."