Trump OKs sanctions for foreigners who meddle in elections

Trump OKs sanctions for foreigners who meddle in elections

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to give federal agencies power to sanction countries, foreign individuals and companies that interfere or spread misinformation in US elections.

Trump was derided in July for not publicly confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin about the election interference during a summit in Helsinki.

While Coates said that "we have not seen the intensity of activity from 2016", the intelligence community has seen signs that there are efforts underway by a number of actors to manipulate the political process this year. He said the U.S.is also anxious about the cyber activities of China, North Korea and Iran.

"Today's announcement by the administration recognizes the threat, but does not go far enough to address it", said Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen in a joint statement, advocating legislation.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told reporters on a call organized by the White House that the ongoing threat is 'only a keyboard click away'. With the current climate focused on Russian interference, Bolton was quick to clarify that the executive order is "not country-specific" and that Trump "cares deeply about it".

White House Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian individuals and three companies for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

On a conference call with reporters, National Security Advisor John Bolton said this is a multi-agency process put in place to assure that the administration is doing everything possible to prevent any interference ahead of the elections and will provide for full assessment after the election to assure the American people of the integrity of their vote.

Bolton said criticism that Trump had been too deferential to Russia or blinkered in his view of Russian election interference played "zero" role in the new action.

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Under the order, the intelligence community would have 45 days to determine whether meddling occurred.

Trump has also said he accepts the strong consensus view of US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation did interfere, including through propaganda and falsehoods spread on social media.

The State and Treasury departments would decide on appropriate additional sanctions to recommend and impose, he said.

The lawmakers said Trump's executive order does not change the need for legislation.

USA lawmakers have introduced various pieces of Russia-related legislation urging punishments for election meddling.

Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., the vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also criticized the executive order, which he said puts too much power in the hands of a president who has previously failed to demand accountability from Russian Federation on the issue. The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned. Russian entities have not targeted those systems to the degree they did in 2016, Coats said Wednesday.

Trump signed the order just two months before the midterms. He has cited USA sanctions and the expulsion of alleged Russian spies from the U.S.

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