Trump OKs sanctions for foreigners who meddle in elections

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to impose sanctions on individuals and entities that meddle in US elections, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Adviser John Bolton announced in a conference call with reporters.

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

One source, a USA official, said the order would slap sanctions on any attempt to interfere in national elections.

The State and Treasury departments would decide on additional sanctions to recommend and impose.

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.

This is a developing story.

Coats said the executive order directs intelligence agencies to determine whether an individual, entity or country has interfered in a US election and, if so, turn the information over to the attorney general and Department of Homeland Security. 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.

Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat who is vice chairman of the intelligence committee, said, "Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply can not be counted upon to stand up to Putin when it matters". "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 order gives the administration broad authority to the government to sanction any foreign entity suspected of interfering in US elections. USA officials have also identified China, Iran and North Korea as potential threats.

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

"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.

Trump has pushed back, saying that no other American president has been as tough on Russian Federation.

The sanctions themselves range from blocked assets, export licenses, access to banking and lending, credit transfers, or USA investors, according to Bolton. Rogers said when he used to talk to Trump about the issue, Trump would often respond to him, saying "Mike, you know, I'm in a different place". Sir, this is not about politics, it's not about parties.

In his first public comments since he retired in June, Rogers said: "That should concern us as citizens. And if we don't do something, they (the Russians) are not going to stop". It directs the US intelligence community to determine if there has been any individual, company, or country that has interfered in a USA election.

Lawmakers and independent analysts say that federal and state action has already made USA voting systems more secure against foreign hackers.

"In regards to Russian involvement in the midterm elections, we continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States", Coats said in August.

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