Well, that was fun! When your library is limited to Golf Digest and “Clifford the Big Red Dog” books, it shouldn’t be hard to slip things past you in legislation. And with the new omnibus bill that Trump is scheduled to sign later today, it becomes clear that the US Congress has learned to play “Where’s Waldo” when they want to get something done where Glorious Bleater is concerned.
CNN is reporting that tucked away in the 2,200 page omnibus bill is a series of new sanctions on Putin and Russia, for a whole laundry list of grievances;
One section bars money from funding a program that Russia participates in by stating money should “not be used for officials of the central government of Russia.”
Another section punishes Russia for its 2014 annexation of Crimea by barring funds from going to support any countries that back the annexation, and directs Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to push Americans on certain financial boards to disallow funds from flowing to programs supportive of Russia’s annexation.
This is a thing of beauty to see for two reasons. First, the congress is holding Trump’s feet to the fire, while Trump may be beholden to Putin, nobody in congress has any outstanding loans with VEB, and they didn’t order female companionship from room service in Moscow. They are going to take action against Putin and his cronies whether Trump likes it or not. You wanna bet that this was one of the things that Trump “really didn’t like” about this bill?
The second reason that this could be major is that it is a clear warning to Trump. Congress defied him by passing strict new sanctions against Putin and Russian oligarchs last year, and also strangled him from being able to undo congressional sanctions on his own, without their approval. Following the rumblings yet again that Trump may move against Mueller, GOP push back, especially in the Senate was stronger this time. McConnell said he expects Mueller to be able to complete his work, and Ryan piped in that he has “assurances” from the White House that no move against Mueller is planned. By slapping Russia with more sanctions in the omnibus bill, congress is reiterating their resolve that Russia will not get away with their past sins, and moving against Mueller as he investigates Russian interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign may well take Trump to a place he has no desire to visit.
But, whatever signals have been sent with the omnibus bill, one thing is certain. Congress has learned a lesson any dog owner learned a long time ago. Namely, if you have to give your pooch a pill, you hide it in a ball of peanut butter. Why does that image seem so appropriate when it’s being compared to a son of a bitch like Trump?