Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump authorizes sanctions against foreigners who meddle in United States elections

Trump authorizes sanctions against foreigners who meddle in United States elections

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order authorising sanctions against any countries or individuals found interfering in US elections.

'That It's something he cares deeply about that the integrity of our elections and our constitutional process are a high priority to him, ' Bolton said. The order declares a national emergency, Bolton said, and requires DNI to make regular assessments of activities targeting the United States electoral process, reporting findings to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.

The move follows repeated criticism for the White House response to Russian-backed interference in the 2016 presidential election.

With the midterm elections now two months away, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said the U.S.is not currently seeing the intensity of Russian intervention that was experienced in 2016, but didn't rule it out. The text of the order has not yet been released.

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.

The lawmakers said Trump's executive order does not change the need for legislation.

Coats listed Iran, North Korea and China as other countries that have the capability to launch attacks on elections.

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The order instructs the intelligence community to monitor and report on attempts to disrupt election infrastructure as well as propaganda. But these sanctions have apparently not deterred the Russian government and other countries with an adversarial relationship with the United States from maneuvering to affect the outcome of some 2018 congressional races, according to Coates.

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.

Punishments could include the blocking of assets in the United States and the State and Treasury departments could also seek more expansive sanctions, such as curtailing access to US financial institutions.

Reuters first reported the existence of the draft executive order.

The sanctions themselves range from blocked assets, export licenses, access to banking and lending, credit transfers, or US investors, according to Bolton.

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, said have put forward the DETER Act, which would set mandatory sanctions on anyone involved in election interference.

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