Trump Signs Order Enabling Sanctions on Foreign Election Meddling

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The order defines election interference in broad terms, going beyond direct hacking into election systems to include influence operations on social media-such as distribution of propaganda and disinformation-and the release of hacked political documents. But the executive branch, including the President, will have the final say in whether sanctions will be applies.

"This is meant to be a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation of the political process", national security adviser John Bolton said during a briefing Wednesday. Reuters first reported the existence of the draft executive order.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders later clarified Trump meant to say he had no reason to believe it "wouldn't" be Russian Federation, using the wrong word - but at that point, the damage of the remarks and the skepticism he expressed had already led to bipartisan outcry, particularly as intelligence officials warn that Russian Federation may continue to attempt to attack United States elections as the midterms approach in November. I think Department of Energy has made a clear statement of what his function there is, ' he said when asked by DailyMail.com about the high-level visit, the first since Trump's Helsinki Summit.

The move comes amidst increasing realisation in the United States that the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential elections.

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.

The order further directs intelligence officials after an election to evaluate what might have occurred and to inform the public on their findings, Coats added. 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.

"The executive order is not country-specific", Bolton said.

The White House looks set to toughen up against foreign meddling in US elections.

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'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 State Department and Treasury could decide to take additional measures.

"While the President appears to acknowledge that foreign actors will continue to attempt to interfere in our elections, he makes no mention of previous Russian attacks", they alleged.

But the executive order, which coincided with heightened alerts about potential attacks on the November 6 elections, didn't satisfy critics who don't trust Mr. Trump to punish Russian hackers.

"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.

Mr. Bolton said the president made clear his support for USA spy agencies, imposed sanctions on Russian Federation and took other actions such as the executive order.

The executive order was also panned by some lawmakers at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Russian interference Tuesday afternoon. Sen.

Under the order, the government would punish intelligence community findings of foreign interference in USA elections with penalties against culprits, as well as the threat of more penalties. Coats also highlighted potential meddling from China, Iran and North Korea.

Coates said that the administration acknowledges that there was interference in the 2016 election, and "we've learned our lessons". Intelligence agencies would have 45 days to make an assessment.

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