Trump signs order to allow sanctions for USA election meddling

Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return from Bedminster New Jersey to Washington U.S

If they determine and find anything that reflects an interference with the elections, they then will report that and automatic sanctions will take effect.

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.

Local teams running the elections have been trained on how to protect their systems from cyber-attack.

The order was described by a US official familiar with its drafting as "another tool in the tool kit" to deter election interference by foreign adversaries.

It is an attempt to guarantee the legitimacy of the congressional and state-wide elections on November 6 as well as future votes after Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 presidential race. Trump dismisses the investigations as a political witch hunt.

There is some frustration among lawmakers that Mr Trump's executive order could undercut congressional efforts to deter any election meddling in the U.S. by foreign powers, according to CBS News.

"There is no question that protecting our elections from foreign interference is one of the most pressing issues facing our country today", Rubio and Van Hollen said in a joint statement Wednesday. Reuters first reported the existence of the draft executive order.

While announcing the new order, Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said that foreign election meddling could possibly take place before November's vote.

Coats said Trump's order directs intelligence agencies to conduct an assessment within 45 days after an election to report any meddling to the attorney general and Department of Homeland Security. If they agree with the assessment, it would trigger automatic sanctions.

Sanctions could include freezing assets, restricting foreign exchange transactions, limiting access to United States financial institutions, and prohibiting USA citizens from investing in companies involved, said White House national security adviser John Bolton.

A key State Department official praised the executive order as a good start. So the others, do incorporate - it's more than Russian Federation here that we're looking at'.

Coates said that the administration acknowledges that there was interference in the 2016 election, and "we've learned our lessons".

Some former officials also praised the order as a "step in the right direction".

Even if Congress fails to act, the national security adviser said there should be "full waiver authorities" for the president because the challenges and threats posed to the US occur in a "broader world that is very complex".

Still, Kanuck said the executive order alone is likely not enough. I will say this.

He said Mr. Trump has demonstrated that he won't stand up to Mr. Putin.

Key lawmakers are likewise cautious.

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

Bolton said that the United States considers interference to be not only attacks on election infrastructure but also the distribution of propaganda and disinformation.

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.

National Security Adviser John Bolton also said the oversight bodies would "calibrate what sanctions will be, based on the interference".

But aides have said that Trump's anger at what he views as a questioning of his surprise election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton colors his view of the threat to future elections, and slowed down the administration's planning for this year's congressional election.

US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Wednesday that the government is now treating the 2016 incident as a "warning signal" for the 2018 and 2020 elections.

"We continue to look at that and will continue to look at that".

"This is an ongoing effort here, and it has been for a significant amount of time", he said.

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