US President Trump has as predicted signed the new sanctions law but he has done so in a most interesting way which suggests that after a rocky couple of weeks he may be rediscovering his political touch.
I share the view that it would have been a serious mistake for President Trump to veto the new sanctions law. With overwhelming majorities voting for the sanctions law in Congress, his veto would certainly have been overridden and he would have achieved nothing by attempting to exercise his veto other than escalate the political crisis in the US in a way that would have damaged his own authority.
Nor in my opinion was the other option some have suggested – of letting the sanctions law come into effect without appending his signature – been a good one. It would have made President Trump appear weak and would have exposed to almost as much criticism as an attempt to veto the law would have done.
Instead by signing the law President Trump has been able to make a Presidential Statement which whilst it has enraged his opponents has put him in a stronger position than an attempt to exercise any other option would have done.
The Presidential Statement has clearly been carefully drafted – unquestionably by lawyers – and it is clear from Secretary of State Tillerson’s comments about the sanctions that he was involved in drafting it. Its text deserves to be set out in full
Today, I signed into law the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions…