Sanctions? What Sanctions???

It is the job of Congress to make laws, and the job of the president to enforce those laws.  Typically, a president would refuse to enforce a law that he believed to be unconstitutional, but the Constitution gives the president broad powers in this area, and he can simply refuse to enforce any law with which he disagrees.  True, there may be ramifications when his name is on the ballot next time, but unless the issue is important enough to be kept in the spotlight, it is unlikely.

Yesterday, Donald Trump announced that he will refuse to enforce the sanctions against Russia that Congress overwhelmingly passed last July.  These sanctions were, in part, a response to Russia’s interference in our 2016 elections by hacking Democratic communications and flooding social media with misinformation. There were only 5 ‘nay’ votes out of 535 members of both chambers of Congress, which when one considers the great partisan divide in the 115th Congress, is nothing short of a miracle and speaks volumes about the importance of this action.

putin-trump-4Why is Trump refusing to enforce the law?  According to a State Department spokesperson …

“Given the long time frames generally associated with major defense deals, the results of this effort are only beginning to become apparent. From that perspective, if the law is working, sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent.”

Representative Eliot Engel hit the nail on the head …

“I’m fed up waiting for this administration to protect our country and our elections. The Trump administration had a decision to make whether they would follow the law and crack down on those responsible for attacking American democracy in 2016. They chose instead to let Russia off the hook yet again. The State Department claims that the mere threat of sanctions will deter Russia’s aggressive behavior. How do you deter an attack that happened two years ago, and another that’s already underway? It just doesn’t make sense.”

Indeed, it just doesn’t make sense.  Unless, you consider the speculation that there were negotiations between Putin and Trump whereby Trump promised to lift sanctions and impose no new ones, in exchange for Putin’s assistance in the 2016 election.  In that case, it all makes perfect sense.

Why does it matter?  It matters because in just over nine months we will hold mid-term elections for every seat in the House of Representatives, and 33 seats in the Senate. According to  CIA director Mike Pompeo, there is every reason to believe that Russia intends to influence those elections in any way possible, saying that he has seen no reduction in Russian ‘activity’ and that “I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that ….”

Thus far, despite widespread,  fact-based evidence of Russia’s interference, Trump has refused to acknowledge that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election.  Whether his refusal is based on some agreement he made with Putin, or whether it is simply that his ego refuses to believe that he may not have won the election based on his own “charisma” is anybody’s guess, but is likely a combination of both.

The 2018 mid-terms have enhanced significance because the current state of Congress, with a mostly-corrupt republican majority in both chambers, is leading us down a perilous path that could well end in the destruction of our system as we know it.  Far too many republicans in Congress are willing to go along with whatever Trump wants, in order to collect the spoils:  Trump’s endorsement and ‘donations’ from the corporations and wealthy 1% to whom Trump has sworn his allegiance.

Too many times in the past year, Trump has shown favoritism toward Russia, calling Robert Mueller’s investigation a “hoax” and a “witch hunt”, and even attempting to fire Mueller last year.  Shortly after he fired FBI Director James Comey, he confided to Russian officials in the Oval Office that firing Comey had “relieved great pressure” on him.

By refusing to enforce the law, the sanctions against Russia, it appears that Trump is giving Putin carte blanche to continue his dirty little game of influencing elections in countries other than his own.  Russia is accused of meddling in the elections of at least 27 countries in Europe and North America.  Think about that one for a minute.  Ask yourself this question: what is the end goal?

It is discomforting to hear Trump praise Putin, while constantly criticizing members of his own government.  One must ask the question:  why? Diehard Trump supporters will blow off these concerns as “just more liberal bias, trying to unseat Trump”.  However, the facts all point toward, at the very least,Trump being willing to ‘look the other way’, if not being actively complicit with Russia.

Are there limits to the president’s power to refuse to enforce the law?  Not really, though it is my opinion that there should be.  The upcoming elections are far too important to allow anything to interfere with their integrity. Even without Russian influence, there are challenges in gerrymandering and disenfranchisement, to name only two.  I have no solution, in case you were waiting for me to suggest one, but I know only that the citizens of this nation must open their eyes and be aware, and the media must help us by uncovering and reporting facts, not hoopla.

42 thoughts on “Sanctions? What Sanctions???

  1. Dear Jill,

    I have been seeing red ever since the State Department announced on 1/29/18 that it would not implement new sanctions against Russian entities, claiming just the threat of sanctions is deterrent enough. The need for sanctions as punishment for Russia’s 2016 election interference, which the US Congress approved sanctions with overwhelming, veto-proof margins, has gone out the window.

    The CIA Director Mike Pompeo has declared, that “I have every expectation that they (Russians) will continue to try’ to meddle in House and Senate races in November,” like this is no big deal. Oh, hum, like what else is new.

    This picture is so wrong and these presidential republican sycophants in the WH and the US Congress wonder why we the people are so disgusted.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel exactly the same. The ‘threat’ of sanctions is no deterrent, for Trump is wink-winking at Putin and we all know that Putin will take this as an invitation to step up plans to alter the mid-terms. Like you, I am seeing red and feeling like nobody, not Trump, not Congress … nobody … is looking out for our interests, for our freedoms, for our nation. It’s all about lining their own pockets. Huge, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, good post. Two comments. First, the Russians continue to influence thoughts at this very moment, even aiding and abetting the Nunes crowd with supporting fervor and articles. But what do I know? However, Trump’s CIA director said on Sunday, the Russians will try to influence the 2018 election.

    Second, help me understand how a President can allow a continuing attack on our country. From what reporters have said from White House sources, he does not want to hear about the Russian hacking as it all goes back to his fragile ego. From where I sit, this move heightens my concerns over his culpability in all this. He may indeed be compromised based on past indiscretions, both financial and physical. And, as I told a friend this am, is “if he is not guilty, why is he acting so guilty?”


    Liked by 2 people

    • I wish I could help you understand, my friend, but I am as much a a loss for finding any reason, any logic to his stance as you are. As to the Nunes memo, it appears from all I have read that it is a work of fiction. Some facts, embellished and material information omitted. But yet, enough will believe it that it could have a damaging effect in November, similar to Comey’s announcement at the end of the campaign in 2016. And Trump’s buddy-buddy relationship with Russia? He might as well invite them to come in and oversee the elections.


  3. Each office holder gives an oath to enforce the laws of the nation to the best of their ability. When a President and the justice department refuses to do so , the check and balance is both congress and the supreme court. Both have been compromised by this administration. In the case of congress you have to ask are the ones shielding tRump also under some coercion.

    It is clear from reporting ( solid sourced and documented reporting ) that tRump made his come back from association with organized crime. ( also I personally know of tRump’s mob connections from his early times at Mar-a Lago. ) The money laundering from his panama building alone is enough to hang most people. The panamanian government even says the tRump organization is a criminal organization involved in laundering the most obnoxious criminals. Investigative reporters have documented tRump projects all over the globe that now are almost entirely Russian mob connected and related. Given that it is asserted that Putin himself is the head of the Russian organized crime, it makes sense why tRump won’t cross Putin and makes me wonder why many in congress such as Devin Nunes are so desperate to hide all of this.

    I feel that the actions of tRump, his family , and the ones in congress so desperate to protect tRump are all guilty of treason against the USA. We have sadly let a TV star bring our country under the control of organized crime. If you doubt the money laundering involved in the tRump organization simply google it. The facts are clear, and this is the real reason tRump wants Muller shut down.


    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, in the case of the president, he swears to uphold the Constitution, and unfortunately the Constitution gives him broad powers about enforcing the laws passed by Congress. This is why often a president will sign a bill that he dislikes into law, if he believes his veto would be overridden, for he knows he can simply fail to enforce it. There have been times, such as when Obama refused to enforce DOMA, that this power was a good thing, and ultimately the Supreme Court overturned DOMA as being unconstitutional. Obama was acting in the best interest of the people, whereas Trump is not and likely never will.

      Yes, I have read of Trump’s mob connections and I believe most of what I have read is true, however he seems to be Teflon-coated, and I’m not sure why, either. As to why Congress continues to lick his boots? The answer is simple: money. When something … anything … seems not to make sense, follow the money. The republics in Congress, and possibly even a few democrats, are benefiting “bigly” from supporting him and his policies. What does that say about our elected leaders, eh?

      I velieve … I hope … that when all is said and done with the Mueller investigation, that change will come. Frankly, I think that ultimately, and I’m talking about over the next decade or two, it will lead to a number of changes in how our system works. At least I hope so, for we need to learn some lessons from this experience.


      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re not an idiot at all … it’s a common misconception. Actually, sometimes a president will sign a bill he hates, just so he doesn’t face a potential veto, and then simply refuse to enforce that law. I’ts perfectly legal, albeit not always moral. Obama refused to enforce FOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Supreme Court later ruled unconstitutional. In that case, he did the right thing, at least in my book, as the law discriminated against same-sex marriage. In the current case, though, I think Trump is making a terrible mistake.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Well, I appreciate your confidence, and I generally believe so too, but sometimes I wonder, given the divisiveness among the American people, whether we can put our differences aside long enough to make the necessary changes.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Very true. The problem, of course, being that even if Trump is impeached or keels over dead tomorrow, we will then have Pence, who, while better-spoken and more moderated, not as boorish and impetuous, is still a bigot and shares many of Trump’s views, such as on climate change, healthcare, etc. So, I don’t see him being that unifying force. But it would still be better than the one who is in the White House now, I think. Surely couldn’t be any worse.


  4. Once upon a time there was a tubby Eastern named Donnie Twaddle who got it into his head he could be good at farming. He bought lots of sheep. He didn’t bother with dogs to herd or guard them. He said he liked wolves, on account of wolves being tough and got things done.
    He bought his farm and sheep with other folks cash who thought he would do a good job. So he hunkered down for the winter.
    When the spring came neighbours came a lookin’ for him. He and his sheep were all gone, jus’ bones left.
    Local farmers said that explained why they personally had not been bothered with wolves that winter and why instead of the usual wolf howls they had kept on a’ hearin’ a far-off eerie sorta laughin’

    Liked by 2 people

  5. We have been so confident in a system that works when the safeguards are followed that we are caught with our pants down when the President blatantly thumbs his nose at us. These are new parameters which we must face and some of us believe “business as usual” in our representative government no longer applies. Challenge and resist. Trump should have been impeached months ago, the Russia investigation should have been put on “full speed forward”, yet it drags on and on. 2018 mid-terms will tell us more conclusively who owns America.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Your first sentence says it all. We allowed ourselves to become overly-confident in our system because it has always worked so far. Oh sure, we had some glitches, minor blips, but even Nixon knew when he was beaten. Despite the fact there has always been a degree of corruption, we always had enough honest people to keep the boat afloat. We were, indeed, caught with our pants down this time around.

      In truth, I have concerns about the midterms. I think it would be foolish to assume that enough people are tired of Trump that the democrats will score major victories. It is going to require work on the part of the DNC, and thus far I’m just not seeing it. The Mueller investigation will likely, I think, not be finished much before the end of the year, for the problem is that every thread they follow opens new doors, new cans of worms. Nobody knew how many were involved, or how deeply. I would like to see it go faster, but I think it’s more important that he makes sure he has all his ducks lined up before he draws his final conclusion. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent post, as always!! I just had a thought … I was wondering if you’d emailed me. Sometimes I delete messages w/o reading. It hit me that I should be on the look out for one from you! Arrgghh … I’m sorry if you’ve messaged me! hugs … ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Where are you headed, America?
    ‘Yesterday, Drumpf announced that he will refuse to enforce the sanctions against Russia that Congress overwhelmingly passed last July. These sanctions were, in part, a response to Russia’s interference in our 2016 elections by hacking Democratic communications and flooding social media with misinformation.’
    The destruction of the Republic will come from within … we are watching it in ‘real time’ …

    Liked by 4 people

  8. This whole Russia situation is shocking and unprecedented. EVERY elected official should be concerned. Too many Americans – including Congress – don’t seem to remember their Cold War History. By not enforcing the sanctions, Trump is colluding with Russia right now! The Russians are hella smart and underestimating them comes at our own peril.

    Excellent post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! Yes, you are quite right, he is colluding, and so are those in Congress who support him. Truth is, though, on this issue, very few in Congress are in agreement with him. After all, with the exception of 5 members, Congress unanimously voted for these sanctions. It is not a good situation, for certain, and your reminder of the Cold War is timely. It never pays to turn your back on a wild animal, even when that animal appears to be tame. And Putin is certainly much smarter than Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

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