Periodically, the Senate stirs itself from its nap, scratches its hairy butt, and pretends to do something really important. Usually, it is ignored. But when it involves Trump, the media and their fellow travelers fall over themselves to talk about it. Such an effort is the bill before the US Senate that imposes additional sanctions on Iran and, has had appended to it additional language that imposes sanctions on Russia. The Iranian sanctions are important because they might actually make Iran repudiate the JCPOA and kill, for once and for all, the myth that Obama was able to bring their nuclear weapons program under IAEA supervision. The Russia sanctions language is important because it is a way of continuing the nonsensical Russia-elected-Trump line of attack.
Let’s look at the coverage. This is from the Washington Post but you’ll see it is a pretty good approximation of the coverage:
Senators have struck a deal to put a comprehensive Russia sanctions bill on the floor this week, according to those negotiating the legislation.
The measure, which will be attached to a bill to stiffen Iran sanctions that is under consideration, incorporates proposals to codify existing Russia sanctions, introduce punitive measures against Moscow in light of Russia’s aggressive activities in Ukraine, introduce measures addressing Syria and the realm of cyberhacking, and give Congress the power to review efforts by the administration to scale back sanctions against Russia before they can go through.
Really. Sounds tough.
“This is a very comprehensive piece of legislation,” Corker said Monday night after the measures were introduced. “It really touches all the components.”
And it was done in sadness…
The Senate has refrained from putting such a sanctions bill to a vote largely because Corker wanted to give the administration more time to attempt to make progress cooperating with Russia over the war in Syria — something he repeated Monday night that he never fully expected it could do.
But this “Corker” is the same “Corker” who masterminded the approval of Obama’s Iran deal and okayed shipping Iran some $1.7 billion in cash while limiting international inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities and requiring the United States to use military force to defend Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. None of that is either made up or even exaggerated.
The easy way to clear this up is to go to the text of the amendment.
The bill does the following things:
1. It codifies existing executive orders.
2. It adds some new sanctions for specific acts, like cyber-crime, but it relies upon the Administration to identify who to sanction.
3. It allows, as do all current sanctions created by law, the Administration to waive sanctions if it certifies to Congress that certain criteria have been met or that it is in national security interests to waive sanctions.
4. It allows Congress to pass a “resolution of disapproval” if the Administration removes sanctions it doesn’t approve of. The president can veto this resolution. (We’ve seen this somewhere before, haven’t we?)
In short, it really does jack sh**. It is a masterpiece of Corkerism.
And a companion bill has yet to be introduced in the House.
And though the anti-Trump people are going to trumpet this as a signal success, I can’t imagine the Administration not signing onto this as it expands the authority of the Administration and does absolutely nothing to prevent them from doing whatever they want to do.