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Trump signs executive order to sanction foreign meddlers in U.S

15 September, 2018, 01:21 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Trump authorizes new sanctions against foreigners who meddle in US elections

Bolton said if there were sufficient evidence of foreign interference, sanctions could come before an election, not just after.

The order calls for sanctioning any individual, company or country that interferes with campaign infrastructure, such as voter registration databases, voting machines and equipment used for tabulating or transmitting results.

Under the order, interference will be defined, at least in part, by attempts to hack US election infrastructure or manipulate public opinion via online propaganda.

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

"We needed to put this in a formal process and we need to make sure the State Department and the Department of the Treasury are authorized to go through the analysis they need to engage and determine what the appropriate sanctions are", Bolton said.

US intelligence agencies concluded that entities backed by the Kremlin sought to boost Republican Trump's chances of winning the White House in the 2016 election against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Added Coats: 'We have seen signs of not just Russian Federation, but from China, from - capabilities potentially from Iran and even North Korea. 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. The attorney general and Department of Homeland Security then have another 45 days to assess whether sanctions should be imposed. "It is meant to be active now before the election", he said.

"It's more than Russian Federation that we're monitoring here", Coats said.

In a joint statement, senators Chris Van Hollen and Marco Rubio - who co-sponsored legislation that would mandate heavy sanctions for election meddling - seconded Warner's assessment. Those backing the legislation say that under the bill, a nation would know exactly what it would face if caught. The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned. 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". Trump did not directly answer the question.

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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.

Both Republicans and Democrats criticized the move as insufficient, however.

The forceful rhetoric stands in sharp contrast to Trump's own statements about Russia's efforts to undermine American democracy.

The order, which will allow new sanctions against Russian or other foreign actors, was inked on Wednesday morning. Russian Federation denies meddling and Trump has dismissed the probe as a "witch hunt".

Most American intelligence agencies have determined Russian Federation sought to influence the 2016 presidential contest in Trump's favor, and top officials have warned foreign actors continue to work toward affecting the outcomes of future USA contests. Sir, this is not about politics, it's not about parties.

"Sir, this isn't about politics, it isn't about party, it's about a foreign state that is attempting to subvert the very tenets of our structure", he recalled saying to POTUS.

In his first public comments since he retired in June, Rogers said: "That should concern us as citizens.

So if the White House doesn't like something for some reason or wants to drag its feet or there's not enough information from the available intelligence, the automatic nature of this might not be as automatic as the executive order suggests", he said.

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