Trump authorises sanctions for foreign election meddling

Trump authorises sanctions for foreign election meddling

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order calling for sanctions against foreign citizens, entities or governments found to have interfered in U.S. elections.

The US President has signed an order that allows the government to impose sanctions on any person or country that interferes with US elections.

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"It's a further effort, among several that the administration has made, to protect the United States against foreign interference in our elections and really our political process more broadly", National Security Adviser John Bolton said Wednesday while briefing reporters.

Coates explained that the process outlined by the order called for a 45-day period within which the intelligence community was to assess whether election interference had occurred and who the actors behind that interference were.

The White House has worked to push back against accusations that Trump was not seriously committed to aggressively protecting US elections from interference, especially after his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July.

Trump's executive order declares that a "national emergency" exists linked to possible foreign interference in the U.S. elections, a declaration that creates a legal basis for the future imposition of sanctions linked to that issue.

One source, a US official, said the order would slap sanctions on any attempt to interfere in national elections.

Coats said the new executive order is a response to Russia's actions in the 2016 election and "to make sure that doesn't happen again".

"We have not seen the intensity of what happened in 2016, but as I have said ... it is only a keyboard click away", Mr. Coats said.

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While not strictly specified, the order more than likely targets Russian Federation.

It also authorizes sanctions for engaging in covert, fraudulent or deceptive activities, such as distributing disinformation or propaganda, to influence or undermine confidence in US elections. US lawmakers have introduced various pieces of Russia-related legislation urging punishments for election meddling.

The outgoing administration of Barack Obama hit Moscow with sanctions and expelled a large number of alleged Russian spies in retaliation for the interference.

Bolton denied that Wednesday's executive order was an effort to reverse the damage from Trump's remarks after the summit with Putin, which prompted outrage among lawmakers in both parties. "I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be".

Trump has repeatedly said he wants to combat foreign interference, Bolton said, and the United States has already sanctioned Russian individuals and entities.

However in a conference call, Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence identified Russia, China, Iran and N Korea having capabilities to do so. "And if we don't do something, they (the Russians) are not going to stop".

Mike Rogers, former director of the National Security Agency, said he thought Trump missed an opportunity in Helsinki to publicly scold Russian Federation for meddling. That report will then be turned over to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well as the Department of Homeland Security. Such "pool sprays" have been held while Trump signed previous orders - or entire public events in Washington and around the country scheduled around them.

Trump has been dogged by accusations that he has not given enough credence to foreign interference in the United States election system, including in the 2016 race he won against Hillary Clinton.

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