Russia sanctions
The Russia sanctions bill, now on President Donald Trump’s desk, has possibly pushed the POTUS into a veto dilemma. In this photo: A participant dressed as both Russia's President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump attends a protest against Trump's announcement that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military, in Times Square, in New York, July 26, 2017. Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Following an approval from the Senate on Thursday, the bill imposing sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea is now headed to President Donald Trump’s desk. The bill that includes a provision to bar the president from easing Russia sanctions without Congress approval was passed in the Senate with an overwhelming majority of 98-2.

The legislation has been passed with an aim to punish Moscow for meddling in the presidential election. It also imposes sanctions on Iran and North Korea over their missile programs and the sanctions may target organizations having business ties with the two countries.

Read: Why EU Extended Russia Sanctions On Crimea Imports By One Year

The White House, however, is giving mixed signals whether Trump will sign the legislation. After the bill was cleared in the Senate, the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday night, “We’ll review that and let you know what we do.”

In an interview with CNN on Thursday, White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was also unclear in his response. “He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are, or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians.”

The White House is specifically concerned with the provision that limits Trump’s power; however, the president’s objection to the bill may put him into trouble amid deepening Russia election probe.

Read: Putin Blames New Russia Sanctions On 'Domestic Political Problems' In The US

Sanders tried evading the question on Monday too. In a Washington Post report, she was quoted as saying the president “has been very vocal about his support for continuing sanctions on those three countries." While on Sunday, she told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” program: “We support where the legislation is now and will continue working with the House and Senate to put those tough sanctions in place on Russia until the situation in Ukraine is fully resolved and it certainly isn't right now.”

Some observers have also called it the first rebuke from the Congress to Trump’s foreign policy as the president tries to maintain amicable relations with Kremlin.

The House of Representatives passed the bill Tuesday with an overwhelming majority of 419-3. While Republican Representatives — Justin Amash of Michigan, Tom Massie of Kentucky and Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee — opposed the bill in the House, Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Bernie Sanders from Vermont opposed the bill in Senate. While Paul had earlier said the U.S. needed to improve cyber security to fight cyber attacks from Russia and China, Sen. Sanders has said he was not sure about the sanctions against Iran.

Some Republican senators are of the view Trump would not veto the bill. “It's just not a good way to start the presidency to veto something and then be soundly overridden,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) told reporters after the Senate vote. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said it would be a mistake on Trump’s part to veto the bill, reports said.

Meanwhile, referring to the sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said they were against the international law.

It goes without saying the bill has pushed Trump into a veto dilemma which was described aptly by Sen, Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) as he spoke to CNN. “This bill gives the President a strong hand. Vetoing the bill is a weaker hand,” he said. “If he vetoes the bill, it shows presidential weakness toward Russia.”