Trump orders use of sanctions to punish election interference

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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP warns crime, immigration will spike if Dems win Former NSA chief breaks with other ex-intel officials over Brennan letter Puerto Rico governor issues scathing statement after Trump touts response to hurricane MORE on Wednesday signed an executive order mandating that sanctions be placed on foreign entities or individuals determined to have interfered with or have assisted with interference in USA elections. There is some frustration among lawmakers that with this executive order, Mr. Trump could be undercutting congressional efforts.

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 intelligence community assesses the information and then turn it over to the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, who will then have 45 days to decide whether to pass it on to the Treasury Department to determine and implement sanctions.

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.

This is a developing story.

Bolton and Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats said the signing of the executive order on a conference call.

Trump instead renewed a demand for an investigation of Clinton's email practices as secretary of state and noted that Putin had issued an "extremely strong and powerful" denial.

"Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply can not be counted upon to stand up to Putin when it matters", Warner said.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said, "We have seen signsnot just Russian Federation, but from China, from - capabilities potentially from Iran and even North Korea".

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At their summit in Helsinki, Trump downplayed US intelligence assessments that Russian Federation was responsible for cyberattacks on Democrats ahead of the 2016 election.

'This clearly is a process put in place to try to assure that we are doing every possible thing we can to first of all prevent any interference in our election, ' said Coats.

Lawmakers said the executive order, which would give the president decision-making power on imposing sanctions, was insufficient.

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

At the same time, outside experts have warned for more than a year that Russian efforts to manipulate US voters through misleading social media postings are likely to have grown more sophisticated and harder to detect. "It's about a foreign state that is attempting to subvert the very tenets of our structure". That should concern us leaders. Russian entities have not targeted those systems to the degree they did in 2016, Coats said Wednesday.

Rogers, who spoke Tuesday night at the Hayden Center at George Mason University in Virginia, also said earlier media reports claiming Trump had asked him to publicly deny any collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign were inaccurate.

Coats warned last month that Russian efforts to undermine US elections continue.

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

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