Missouri Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill wants President Trump to be held accountable over Russian sanctions heading into the State of the Union tonight.
The Trump administration announced yesterday that it would not impose sanctions on countries that buy Russian military equipment.
McCaskill notes the Senate and House overwhelmingly approved legislation to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election.
“It is hard for me to understand why, with a vote of 517-5 the President is not doing what the law clearly intends for him to do,” said McCaskill. “And I think those questions are going to continue to be asked, I’m hopeful, by both sides of the aisle.”
It’s not known if President Trump will address the issue in his speech tonight. The Treasury Department says it’s followed instructions under the sanctions law and drawn up a list of Russian targets for sanctions.
McCaskill made her comment to Missouri reporters in a Monday afternoon phone conference. Her early morning tweet with the same message went viral and was picked up by media such as The New York Times.
Congress voted 517-5 to impose sanctions on Russia. The President decides to ignore that law. Folks that is a constitutional crisis. There should be outrage in every corner of this country.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) January 30, 2018
The two-term Senator is skeptical that President Trump, based on past behavior, will stay consistent with statements he makes in tonight’s State of the Union address.
“It is hard for me to know whether or not what the President says tonight will be what he will tweet tomorrow, McCaskill said. “There has been such a lack of consistency as to policy positions this President has taken. As (South Carolina Republican Senator) Lindsey Graham said, ‘There’s the Tuesday President, and there’s the Thursday President’.”
The former Missouri State Auditor thinks the President will deliver a decent speech if he sticks to reading off the teleprompter. She says she hopes he’ll talk about bipartisanship in a sincere manner.
Trump is widely expected to tout economic accomplishments achieved during his first year in office tonight in his first State of the Union address. McCaskill thinks he’ll have a hard time defending current employment conditions, even though some companies handed out thousand-dollar bonuses to workers after corporate taxes were cut.
“I know that we’ve lost thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs, even from the companies that are talking about their bonuses. You’ve got AT&T laying off thousands of people. You’ve got Macy’s laying off thousands of people. You have a number of companies laying off workers.
The President’s address take place at 8 p.m. at the U.S. Capitol in front of both chambers of Congress. McCaskill is expected to be in attendance, although some other Democrats could boycott the address over opposition to the Trump presidency.
The Republican leader won Missouri by 19 points in the 2016 election and still retains a level of approval in the state. McCaskill is in a tight re-election campaign against sitting state Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is the favorite to win the GOP nomination.
Her approval rating recently dropped eight points in a poll this month by online survey and market research firm Morning Consult.