President Donald Trump plans to sign a bill into law that would tighten sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
July 29 (UPI) -- The White House signaled late Friday that President Donald Trump will sign into law a bill to strengthen sanctions against Russia, North Korea and Iran.
The bill, which the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed by wide margins this week, toughens sanctions on the three nations -- specifically with Russia over its presence in Ukraine and Syria, as well as the intelligence community's belief that Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election.
In a release Friday, the White House said Trump "approves the bill and intends to sign it," because of "its responsiveness to his negotiations" before it cleared Congress.
The bill could have spelled political difficulty for Trump, as the president faced a veto-proof majority supporting the legislation in Congress. New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told CNN he wasn't sure whether Trump would sign the bill or veto it. The White House unsuccessfully lobbied lawmakers to eliminate the bill's requirement that Trump and future presidents need congressional approval before loosening sanctions.
Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has pushed back against the idea of putting sanctions into law. Tillerson said the Trump administration needs more "flexibility."
Russia President Vladimir Putin, who Trump has expressed respect for, has also criticized the bill.
"It's impossible to endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence towards our country," Putin said after the House vote. "This practice is unacceptable -- it destroys international relations and international law."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., has touted the bipartisan support backing the bill through Congress.
"It tightens the screws on our most dangerous adversaries in order to keep Americans safe," Ryan said.