Trump to target foreign meddling in USA elections with sanctions order

  • Trump to target foreign meddling in USA elections with sanctions order

Trump to target foreign meddling in USA elections with sanctions order

The order also is aimed at deterring the kind of election influence allegedly carried out by Russia in the 2016 presidential election, when USA intelligence services claim Russian entities spread disinformation in efforts to influence the balloting.

Trump has repeatedly said he wants to combat foreign interference, Bolton said, and the United States has already sanctioned Russian individuals and entities. The intelligence officials saying that they have also seen interference activity out of China, Iran, and North Korea. The executive order is partly an attempt to preempt those efforts.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats would turn over any significant findings of interference to the attorney general and the secretary of Homeland Security.

Trump has also said he accepts the strong consensus view of US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation did interfere, including through propaganda and falsehoods spread on social media.

White House Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian individuals and three companies for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Instead, he delivered a rambling response, including demands for investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server and his description of Putin's "extremely strong and powerful" denial of meddling.

Trump was criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for what he said about Russian meddling in USA elections during a meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year.

The White House looks set to toughen up against foreign meddling in US elections.

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. The United States can and must do more.

Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., the vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also criticized the executive order, which he said puts too much power in the hands of a president who has previously failed to demand accountability from Russian Federation on the issue. "Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply can not be counted upon to stand up to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin when it matters", said Warner, who is sponsoring the bill.

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

Congress passed a Russian Federation sanctions bill more than a year ago.

It directs the US intelligence community to determine if there has been any individual, company, or country that has interfered in a USA election. Those backing the legislation say that under the bill, a nation would know exactly what it would face if caught.

In June, the United States slapped sanctions on several Russian companies and individuals for allegedly aiding Russia's intelligence agency in cyber-attacks against the US. "And if we don't do something, they (the Russians) are not going to stop". The 45-day period is based on when interference is believed to have happened and not specifically tied to Election Day.