Trump signs order for sanctions against foreigners who meddle in polls

Yahoo News

Yahoo News

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 USA elections.

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

Coats and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who also presented the new order to the press, said it showed that President Trump was prioritizing American election security.

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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"We have seen signs of not just Russian Federation, but from China, of capabilities, potentially from Iran, and even North Korea", U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told reporters Wednesday.

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

"We have seen signs of [meddling from] not just Russian Federation, but from China ... from Iran and even North Korea", he said.

The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will then have another 45 days to decide whether or not to impose "automatic" sanctions and the heads of the State and Defense Departments will evaluate whether to levy even more severe punishments.

"The new executive order certainly does not absolve the Senate from passing much-needed legislation and funding to beef up our election security and prevent future attacks on our democracy from foreign adversaries", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. I think Department of Energy has made a clear statement of what his function there is, ' he said when asked by DailyMail.com about the high-level visit, the first since Trump's Helsinki Summit. "Today's announcement by the administration recognises 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.

The order described by a U.S. official familiar with its drafting as "another tool in the tool kit" to deter election interference by foreign adversaries, according to The Wall Street Journal. The order, not yet released, is meant as a deterrent against interference in the 2018 midterm elections.

While such powers already exist in the White House and US Treasury, Coats said the new order would set up an automatic and formal review, while giving Trump flexibility on what actions to take. But he said the order will apply not just to Russian Federation but to others possible bad actors, including China, North Korea, and Iran.

But, they added, "we must make sure Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation, or any other foreign actor, understands that we will respond decisively and impose punishing consequences against those who interfere in our democracy". "The president has said repeatedly that he is determined that there not be foreign interference in our political process", Bolton said on a conference call.

"I applaud the attempt to make it harder to evade, to let something fall away and not be countered", Michele Markoff, the State Department's Deputy Coordinator for Cyber, said during a panel discussion in Washington Wednesday. He has cited USA sanctions and the expulsion of alleged Russian spies from the U.S.

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