President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia and limiting his ability to ease them, according to several reports.
Trump signed the bill on Wednesday after it passed Congress last week and landed on his desk on Friday. The White House later released a statement announcing that Trump signed the bill, though the President remained sharply critical of it.
The House passed the sanctions bill with a 419-3 vote on Tuesday, and the Senate passed it with a 98-2 vote on Thursday, setting up a majority that could override a presidential veto.
The White House announced Friday that Trump “reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it.”
Asked on Tuesday why Trump had not yet signed the bill, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited “a review process, a legal process.”
“There’s nothing holding him back,” she said. “He’ll sign the bill and we’ll let you know.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday gave a slightly different account of Trump’s feelings on the proposal.
“The action by the Congress to put these sanctions in place and the way they did, neither the President nor I are very happy about that,” he said at a rare State Department press briefing. “We were clear that we didn’t think it was going to be helpful to our efforts. But that’s the decision they made.”
No signing ceremony was listed on the official schedule, though Trump appears to greatly enjoy putting his name to legislation with an audience. The White House released a statement nearly an hour after Trump signed the proposal.
In a signing statement sent by the White House press secretary’s office, Trump blasted Congress for including “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions” in its “haste” to pass the bill, which he called “significantly flawed.”
“My Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies,” he said.
In a second statement moments later, Trump said he expressed “concerns to Congress about the many ways” the bill “improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies.”
“My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better,” he said.
Trump claimed he signed the bill “for the sake of national unity,” but took one last swing at lawmakers.
“I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected,” he said. “As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”
This post has been updated.