U.S. President Donald Trump on Aug. 2 signed into law a bill imposing sanctions on Russia after modifying its language, but he said the measure "remains seriously flawed" and encroaches on the executive's ability to negotiate.
The new law punishes Russia for its supposed meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and for its actions in Ukraine and Syria. It also imposes sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and gives Congress the power to block the president from easing penalties against Moscow.
"I favor tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang," Trump said in a statement. "I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization."
Trump said his administration worked with Congress to alter the language of the legislation to give the Treasury Department more flexibility in granting routine licenses to U.S. businesses, people and companies.
The language changes also considered European allies' feedback on energy sanctions, Trump said, and allows agencies to delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors if they affect U.S. or allied countries' companies.
"Despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity," he said.
Veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill on July 25 and July 26, respectively. Responding to the bill's passage in Congress, Russia recently ordered the U.S. to reduce its embassy-related and other personnel in Moscow.