President Donald Trump is reserving the right to ignore a new defense authorization law’s ban on U.S. recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, Defense News reported.
In a 15-page statement to accompany the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that Trump signed Monday, the president expressed his constitutional concerns with an array of language — including a ban on America’s recognition of Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine and annexed in 2014 — as well as limits on U.S. support to the Saudi campaign in Yemen, transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and reporting civilian casualties and the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea.
Trump was also concerned with provisions limiting his ability to retire Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft and to retire intercontinental ballistic missiles, the military news outlet reported.
According to Defense News, Trump objected to four of eight provisions focused on Russia. For example, the law would limit the use of federal funds to recognize Russian control over Crimea, but Trump asserted his authority as commander in chief, saying the law would unduly “dictate the position of the United States in external military and foreign affairs.”
He also brought up concerns Congress was handcuffing his military and diplomatic powers over a ban on military-to-military cooperation between the United States and Russia, limits on his implementation of the Open Skies Treaty — which allows reciprocal reconnaissance flights — and a mandate he report whether Russia is breaching the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Also concerning to the president was a limit on assistance in Iraq and Syria to counter the Islamic State group until the administration puts out its strategy and reveals the size of the U.S. presence there, Defense News reported.
The statement is not unusual, Defense News reported.
President Barack Obama and other commanders-in-chief have insisted they can interpret and ignore portions of law because they exceed Congress’ constitutional authority.
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