The Latest: Trump signs Russia sanctions bill, unhappily

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's signing of a bill imposing sanctions on Russia (all times EDT):

8 p.m.

President Donald Trump has grudgingly signed what he called a "seriously flawed" package of sanctions against Russia.

Trump signed the most significant piece of legislation of his presidency with no public event. And he coupled it with a written statement that accused Congress of overstepping its constitutional bounds, impeding his ability to negotiate with foreign countries and lacking any ability to strike deals.

Still, he said, "despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity."

The legislation is aimed at penalizing Moscow for its interference in the U.S. presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad.

The law also imposes new financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.


3:15 p.m.

Russia's prime minister says the sanctions bill signed by President Donald Trump ends hopes for improved U.S.-Russia ties.

Dmitry Medvedev (dih-MEE'-tree med-VYEH'-dyev) says in a Facebook post that "Trump's administration has demonstrated total impotence by surrendering its executive authority to Congress in the most humiliating way."

Medvedev thinks the "American establishment has won an overwhelming victory over Trump" and he describes the sanctions as "yet another way to put Trump in his place."

The prime minister contends the new penalties amount to the declaration of an "all-out trade war against Russia."


3:10 p.m.

The Russian Foreign Ministry says Moscow reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures in response to a sanctions bill signed by President Donald Trump.

The statement comes not long after Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had noted that "retaliatory measures already have been taken." That was a reference to Russia's decision to sharply cut the U.S. diplomatic personnel and close a U.S. recreational retreat and warehouse facilities.

The Foreign Ministry is emphasizing that "we naturally reserve the right for other countermeasures."


1:40 p.m.

The Kremlin says Russia isn't considering further retaliation against the United States following President Donald Trump's signing of a sanctions bill.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says "retaliatory measures already have been taken." The statement carried by Russian news agencies refers to Russia's decision to sharply cut the U.S. diplomatic personnel and close a U.S. recreational retreat and warehouse facilities.


1:15 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says President Donald Trump's signing of sanctions legislation sends a powerful message to U.S. foes that "they will be held accountable for their actions."

Ryan's brief statement makes no mention of Trump's criticism of the legislation that had passed the House overwhelmingly last week. Trump says the bill is "seriously flawed," but he signed it under pressure from congressional Republicans and Democrats.

Ryan says the sanctions directly target "the destructive and destabilizing activities of Iran, Russia, and North Korea."

The Wisconsin Republican says the United State will continue to use "every instrument of American power to defend this nation and the people we serve."


1:10 p.m.

Russia's new ambassador at the United Nations says new U.S. sanctions are "harming our relations inevitably."

And Vassily Nebenzia has this message for members of Congress who think the sanctions might change Russian policy: You should from history that "we do not bend, we do not break."

But Nebenzia also is telling reporters that "it's not our habit to be resentful children, to get offended." He says Moscow "will not relent on finding ways and means to cooperate with our partners including the United States."

Nebenzia says Russia expected President Donald Trump to sign the sanctions bill. He says Trump "basically was obliged to sign it" after passage by wide margins in the House and Senate.


12:55 p.m.

Some Russian lawmakers say the sanctions bill signed by President Donald Trump is a major obstacle for mending ties between the two powers.

Konstantin Kosachev heads the Russian upper house's foreign affairs committee. He says the legislation will lead to "further degradation" of relations.

Kosachev says the bill will further cloud the prospects for cooperation on Iran and North Korea. He says it "leaves no chance for a constructive cooperation with Russia."

Leonid Slutsky is chairman of the Russian lower house's foreign affairs committee. He says the bill's signing marks a dangerous new low in ties between the two nuclear powers.


12:30 p.m.

The House's top Democrat says President Donald Trump's statement blasting the Russia sanctions bill he signed into law raises serious questions about whether his administration will follow the law.

Trump, in signing the bill Wednesday, called it "significantly flawed," and says his administration expects Congress to refrain from using this bill to hinder work with European allies or the work of American businesses.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday the Republican-led Congress must not allow the White House to "wriggle out of its duty to impose these sanctions for Russia's brazen assault on our democracy."

The California lawmaker said "Democrats will demand tough oversight to ensure strong and immediate implementation of the sanctions law."


11:22 a.m.

President Donald Trump says a bill imposing sanctions on Russia, North Korea and Iran is "seriously flawed" because it hinders his ability to negotiate.

In a statement Wednesday, Trump said he signed the bill, which imposes tough measures to "punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang" and enhance existing sanctions on Moscow.

But Trump says "the bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch's authority to negotiate."

Trump adds that "by limiting the Executive's flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together. "

But he says, he is signing the bill "for the sake of national unity."


10:48 a.m.

White House officials say President Donald Trump has signed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia.

Two White House officials said that the president signed the bill Wednesday morning.

The package of stiff financial sanctions against Russia passed Congress with overwhelming support.

Moscow responded to the sanctions by ordering a reduction in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly before the official statement.

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