In case anyone reading this hadn’t heard, the Trump administration announced that it would sign the Russian sanctions bill Congress was sending to his desk. It was a move many had wondered if Trump would make considering his bromance with Vladimir Putin and his refusal to publicly speak out against Russia for launching a cyber attack against the United States last year in a blatant attempt to undermine our democracy.
Since this news broke, I’ve seen Trump supporters rushing to claim that this somehow “proves” that he couldn’t have possibly colluded with Russia because, if he had, he wouldn’t have agreed to sign the bill Congress sent him that drastically reduces his power to undermine sanctions levied against the Russian government.
I’m sorry Trumpsters, but this move doesn’t prove a damn thing. The truth of the matter is, he didn’t really have a choice.
Sure, technically, Trump could have vetoed this bill, offered some outlandish excuse as to why he opposed it, and I’m sure most of his supporters would have believed every word that he said — but it wouldn’t have made a difference.
You see, while every president has veto power over any bill sent to their desk, Congress also has the power to override that veto just as long as two-thirds of both the House and the Senate vote to do so.
Seeing as the Russian sanctions bill passed the House 419-3, and the Senate 98-2, obviously there was more than enough support in Congress to easily override Trump’s veto had he chosen to go down that path. So it didn’t make a whole lot of sense for Trump to “borrow trouble,” as they say, by using a presidential veto he knew was certainly going to be overridden.
Moreover, Putin knows this, so it’s not as if their bromance is really going to be impacted a great deal. While I’m certain he’s not happy that Congress passed these sanctions, the Russian president is intelligent enough to know that there was nothing Trump could do to stop them.
Let’s be honest here, it’s not as if the White House is celebrating this move.
So at the end of the day, while it’s true Donald Trump will sign this sanctions bill, it’s not as if he’s doing so because he really ever had a choice.
Had he used his veto power, not only would he have had to endure the embarrassment of having it overridden by Congress — something no president ever wants to have happen — but then he’d have to explain why he opposed them, in addition to opening himself up to even more scrutiny as it relates to allegations that he colluded with the Russian government during last year’s election.
While there’s obviously no way to know for certain, I absolutely believe that if Trump didn’t know his veto would be overridden by Congress, he wouldn’t have signed this bill.