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Trump has no choice but to accept sanctions against Russia, says Bill Browder

  • President Trump has no choice but to sign a popular Russia sanctions bill into law, says Bill Browder.
  • Anthony Scaramucci, the president's new communications director, says Trump might veto the bill "and negotiate an even tougher deal."
  • Even if Trump vetoes the bill, Congress has the support to override his veto, Browder says.

Whether he likes it or not, President Donald Trump will have to accept Congress' harsh sanctions bill against Russia, says enemy of the Putin regime Bill Browder.

Russia's hopes for removing the sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act are "gone" now that Congress has passed this new bill so unanimously, said the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management.

"These sanctions will not go away," Browder said on CNBC's "Power Lunch" Thursday.

"To the extent that the president wants to be nice to Russia, he's going to have to find issues to be nice to Russia that don't include sanctions, because we now have sanctions completely locked up via an act of Congress," he said.

The new bill essentially cements the Magnitsky sanctions into law by requiring congressional approval to have them repealed. The president would be required to inform Congress of his intention to alter U.S. policy on Russian sanctions. Congress would have 30 days to block the president from doing so.

"They're effectively tying the president's hands," said Browder, who supports Russian sanctions and the current bill that would preserve them.

The Trump administration, for its part, has floated the possibility of the president vetoing the sanctions bill.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, FL on Thursday November 03, 2016.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, FL on Thursday November 03, 2016.

Anthony Scaramucci, the president's new communications director, told CNN on Thursday that Trump "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 bill passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming support, receiving 419 votes in support and only three votes against. The Senate passed an earlier version of the bill 98 to 2 in June.

But even if Trump wanted to veto the sanctions bill, Browder said he would be stopped by Congress.

"It's a powerful piece of legislation, it really tells Putin what we think of him, and effectively the president doesn't have much of a choice here," Browder said, explaining that Congress will have the support to override a presidential veto "without any problem."

The Magnitsky Act came up last month when it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr. and a number of senior Trump campaign officials met with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 in search of damaging information about then-candidate for president Hillary Clinton.

Browder recently told CNBC that he has known the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, as "an adversary for three years," and described her role in the Russian government as being "on a mission to undo the Magnitsky Act."

Browder was once the largest foreign investor in Russia, but has been blacklisted and allegedly threatened after withdrawing his business from the country.

"The Russians, as you know, are out to get me, they're out to kill me, they have threatened to kill me," Browder said, "but today is no different than any other day."