President Trump: Ties With Russia at ‘All-Time Low,’ Blames Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) —
President Donald Trump speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

President Donald Trump said on Thursday that Washington’s relationship with Russia is at an “an all-time and very dangerous low,” and blamed Congress for the situation, a day after he grudgingly signed into law sanctions against Moscow.

Congress overwhelmingly approved the sanctions last week, leaving President Trump with little choice but to sign the legislation although he has long expressed a desire for better ties with Russia.

He signed the bill on Wednesday but strongly criticized it. He complained that the measure, which allows Congress to stop him from easing sanctions on Russia, infringed on presidential powers to shape foreign policy.

Russia responded by saying the sanctions amounted to a full-scale trade war and an end to hopes for better ties with the Trump administration.

“Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low,” President Trump said in a Twitter post on Thursday.

“You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!” added, referring to a bitter setback this month when his fellow Republicans, who control both chambers in Congress, failed to push healthcare legislation through the Senate.

President Trump’s desire for better ties with Moscow has been hamstrung by the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that President Vladimir Putin’s government meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign. U.S. congressional panels and a special counsel are investigating. Moscow denies any meddling and President Trump denies any collusion by his campaign.

Congress passed the new sanctions to punish Russia over the election interference and the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014.

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