Ex-US diplomat: Republicans to fuel ‘Russiagate’ witch hunt by passing sanctions

On Thursday, US House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a press conference he wants the House to move quickly on a bill passed by the Senate last week that imposes sanctions on Russia for allegedly meddling in the 2016 US president election.

The proposed bill would also prevent Trump from lifting any penalties against Moscow, which is why White House officials, according to media reports, have been trying to get House Republicans to weaken the bill.

“They [House Republicans] should at least have enough partisan self-interest not to give the Democrats and mainstream media more grist for their ‘Russiagate’ witch hunt,” Jatras said Thursday.

Jatras hopes that, unlike their Senate colleagues, House Republicans can put aside sterile Russophobia long enough to give a small concession to the vestiges of constitutional government.

Republican members of the House also needed to recognize that if the bill passed it would strengthen Democratic Party leaders who had encouraged anti-Russian hysteria since the shock defeat of their candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Jatras advised.

“Nothing good can come of it unless and until Trump manages to gain effective control of the government of which he is the constitutionally elected head,” Jatras commented.

If passed, the bill would amount to a constitutional revolution as it would remove key foreign policy-making powers from the president, Jatras cautioned.

Senators of both parties who voted to pass the bill last week, he claimed, wanted to ensure that Trump does not have the ability to reach out and normalize ties with Moscow.

Many US lawmakers are apparently willing, Jatras said, to violate every principle of international law and comity, as well as damaging relationships with top US security and trade partners.

“Meanwhile, the power of Congress to decide upon war continues to be usurped by the Executive Branch without a murmur of protest,” he remarked.

Jatras cited a comment by the late columnist Joseph Sobran that the nice thing about the US Constitution was that it posed no serious threat to the US form of government.

Russian officials have repeatedly refuted allegation of meddling in the US election, characterizing them as absurd.