Trump Executive Order Would Punish Foreigners Linked To Election Interference

U.S. President Donald Trump holds an Oval Office meeting on preparations for hurricane Florence at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 11, 2018. Reuters first reported the existence of the draft executive order. "The United States can and must do more", such as the mandatory sanctions attached to legislation they proposed, the senators wrote.

Based on a recent draft of the order reviewed by the USA 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.

"Obviously we're looking at having evidence that interference has occurred", he said, but added: "The executive order is not country-specific".

Trump has previously faced criticism for not being tough enough against Russian Federation after the USA intelligence community concluded that Moscow had influenced the 2016 presidential election, and the new measure could be an attempt to show a sign of force ahead of the upcoming midterms.

Congressional pressure for tougher federal defenses against foreign election interference grew following Trump's July 16 summit and news conference with Putin, when Trump avoided publicly confronting the Russian leader about Moscow's efforts to influence the election.

There have been ongoing concerns about attacks or disinformation campaigns, fueled in part by Trump's own attacks against the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russia's activities and into possible collusion with Trump's own campaign staff. But the executive branch, including the President, will have the final say in whether sanctions will be applies.

"It is imperative that America remains united in punishing potential election meddlers and bad actors and that Republicans and Democrats work together to protect the integrity of our elections", he said.

The executive order comes six weeks after Bolton and other administration officials warned that Russian Federation and other governments continue to seek to influence US elections, including upcoming mid-terms in November.

"Zero", he said when asked what role the backlash played.

The order would direct intelligence agencies to assess whether any people or entities interfered.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told reporters on Wednesday that the USA is not now seeing a Russian interference campaign, but warned that "it's only a keyboard click away". The finding would then be passed to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, who would then make a determination within 45 days whether the interference took place and warranted sanctions.

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 USA financial institutions.

He said the intelligence community has been working on this for a while, but the executive order puts into place a formal process to ensure the administration is doing everything it possibly can to prevent foreign interference.

"While the administration has yet to share the full text, an executive order that inevitably leaves the president broad discretion to decide whether to impose tough sanctions against those who attack our democracy is insufficient", Warner said.

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