Daniel Hemel on the Russia Sanctions Bill

Trump Says the Russia Sanctions Bill Is Unconstitutional: He's Mostly Right

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Act, passed by the House and Senate last week with the aim of strengthening sanctions against Iran, North Korea, and Russia, includes “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.” He signed the bill anyway, knowing that supporters of the legislation had more than enough votes to override any veto. Trump, though, accompanied his signature with a signing statement delineating the particular provisions his administration thinks are unconstitutional.

Given the president’s penchant for bogus constitutional claims, the signing statement is surprisingly accurate in much of its legal analysis. Not all of his assertions are consistent with Supreme Court precedent, but some certainly are, and the president is correct in his topline conclusion that the bill contains a number of clearly unconstitutional elements.

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