Trump signs executive order to allow sanctions for U.S. election meddling

Trump signs executive order to allow sanctions for U.S. election meddling

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

During a press briefing on Wednesday, the current national security advisor John Bolton said that the executive order, which comes shortly before the midterms "is meant to be a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation of the political process".

Bolton says the executive order will work to stem disinformation campaigns or any attempt to manipulate the outcome of ballots.

USA intelligence agencies concluded that entities backed by the Kremlin sought to boost Republican Trump's chances of winning the White House in the 2016 election against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. US officials have also identified China, Iran and North Korea as potential threats.

Both Republicans and Democrats criticized the move as insufficient, however. There is some frustration among lawmakers that with this executive order, Mr. Trump could be undercutting congressional efforts.

A special counsel has been investigating possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow.

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 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.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russian Federation was behind an effort to tip the scale of the USA election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorised campaign of cyber-attacks and fake news stories planted on social media.

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"We are doing everything we possibly can, first of all to prevent any interference with our election, and then to do a full assessment after the election", Coats said Wednesday.

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.

At their summit in Helsinki, Trump downplayed USA intelligence assessments that Russian Federation was responsible for cyberattacks on Democrats ahead of the 2016 election.

The order, however, will apply beyond just Russian Federation to other foreign entities that are seeking to influence United States elections.

Congress has been purposefully left out of the executive order drafting process, the official said, because the administration wants to preempt legislation being considered in the House and Senate that addresses similar issues.

"Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply can not be counted upon to stand up to Putin when it matters", Warner said. Russian entities have not targeted those systems to the degree they did in 2016, Coats said Wednesday. They said Trump's order recognizes the threat, but doesn't go far enough.

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

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