Trump Authorizes Sanctions For Foreigners Who Meddle In Elections

Donald Trump gestures after arriving in Pennsylvania to take part in a memorial event for the Sept 11 attacks

Donald Trump gestures after arriving in Pennsylvania to take part in a memorial event for the Sept 11 attacks

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday imposing sanctions against any election interference, declaring election meddling efforts as a "national emergency". The text of the order has not yet been released.

In June, the USA slapped sanctions on several Russian companies and individuals for allegedly aiding Russia's intelligence agency in cyber-attacks against the US.

Congress is also considering several pieces of legislation that would punish foreign countries for interfering in US elections.

Based on a recent draft of the order reviewed by the US official, it will require any federal agency aware of election interference by foreigners to take the information to the office of Director of National Intelligence.

The executive order is the latest effort by the Trump administration to look tough on security at the polls, even as Trump himself has blasted the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. So the others, do incorporate - it's more than Russian Federation here that we're looking at'. It covers overt efforts to meddle in election infrastructure, such as vote counts, as well as "propaganda" and other attempts to influence voting from overseas, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats told reporters.

The threatened sanctions are notable because they aim not just at foreign companies and individuals seeking to disrupt U.S. electoral infrastructure - electoral databases, vote tabulation processes and the like - but also of propaganda campaigns and leaks of sensitive political information.

The intelligence community would have 45 days to make its assessment, and then the two departments would have 45 days to determine whether action is required, he told reporters on a conference call.

Trump has come under fire from both Democrats and Republicans, who accuse the president of taking a weak stance on accusations of Russian interference.

After the reports are complete, the Treasury and State Departments would decide on appropriate sanctions to impose on the potential actors or countries. Sanctions authorized in the executive order include blocking of assets, transfer of property, USA investment in sanctioned companies, and restriction of travel.

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. Instead, it depends on implementation and is structured a bit like the DETER bill (Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines Act of 2018) which was introduced by the Senators Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, earlier this year.

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