President calls legislation 'significantly flawed'

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a bill imposing sanctions on Russia for its alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election while voicing major objections to its provisions.

The bill is "significantly flawed" due to its "unconstitutional provisions", Trump said in a lengthy statement that announced his decision.

"The bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate," Trump said in a separate statement.

"Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together," he added.

Not only does the bill, now law, apply new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, it makes it harder for an American president to pull back new sanctions, as well as older ones on Russia.

Congress overwhelmingly passed the bill last week, and if Trump were to have vetoed the legislation, lawmakers would have easily been able to carry out an override with nearly all members in each chamber supporting the blacklistings and accompanying restraints on the executive's ability to ease them.

Trump has sought to mend ties with Russia, but when the Senate passed the legislation, Russia angrily reacted by ordering 755 U.S. diplomats to leave the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. took "unprovoked" steps toward worsening bilateral relations, adding he believed the U.S. attitude towards Russia would not change "soon".

He also said Moscow had no intentions of leaving the U.S. actions "unanswered" and could also consider other options to take countermeasures, "but I hope that it will not come to this. I am against it today."

AA