Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump to mandate sanctions against foreign governments that interfere in USA elections

Trump to mandate sanctions against foreign governments that interfere in USA elections

The US will not tolerate any form of foreign interference in its elections, President Donald Trump said Wednesday after signing an executive order that initiates actions, including sanctions, against foreign entities who meddle or even attempt to interfere in American polls.

Administration officials said the executive order sets up a framework for assessing interference, reporting it to the president and punishing it with sanctions.

The sanctions authority would be the latest effort by the Trump administration to address to concerns raised by US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation is seeking to interfere in the 2018 USA elections after doing so two years ago. The attorney general and Department of Homeland Security then have another 45 days to assess whether sanctions should be imposed.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been attacked by USA lawmakers for not being tough enough against Russian Federation after the US intelligence community concluded that Moscow has influenced the 2016 elections. Apple creating portal for police data requests Trump to order sanctions on foreign companies that meddle in U.S. elections: report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance - Hurricane Florence a new test for Trump team MORE said.

The order will empower the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, the NSA, and the Department of Homeland Security to make decisions on if election meddling happened.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats commented on the move, suggesting it was a response to the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Coats told reporters Wednesday the intelligence community has seen "signs" of interference attempts from China, Iran and North Korea.

"We haven't seen the intensity of what happened in 2016".

That this announcement came first as a leak to United States news outlets and then as an announcement from National Security Advisor John Bolton underlines how fraught a subject it is for this particular White House. The executive order, called "Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election", establishes a mechanism to impose sanctions on any foreign individual or company found interfering.

The executive order comes as bills in the House and Senate have gained support that would require sanctions against any government or person determined to have engaged in electoral interference.

"Today's announcement by the administration recognizes the threat, but does not go far enough to address it", Van Hollen and Rubio said.

He said sanctions could be imposed during or after an election, based on evidence gathered.

"If we are going to actually deter Russian Federation and others from interfering in our elections in the future, we need to spell out strong, clear consequences, without ambiguity", Mr. Warner said.

Bolton said the order was necessary to ensure a formal process and authorisation for sanctions, but he said he was in talks with lawmakers about legislation as well.

There is some frustration among lawmakers that with this executive order, Mr. Trump could be undercutting congressional efforts.

The public will be informed of interference activity when sanctions occur, Bolton said Wednesday on the conference call.

"It's more than Russian Federation that we're monitoring here", Coats said.

At the same time, outside experts have warned for more than a year that Russian efforts to manipulate USA voters through misleading social media postings are likely to have grown more sophisticated and harder to detect.

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