Trump signs order authorizing sanctions for election meddling

Trump signs order authorizing sanctions for election meddling

National Security Adviser John Bolton and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told reporters Wednesday that the executive order is evidence the president is making election security a priority.

Under the order, the intelligence community would have 45 days to determine whether meddling occurred.

The order, which will allow new sanctions against Russian or other foreign actors, was inked on Wednesday morning.

"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.

Mr. Trump suffered harsh criticism from Republicans and Democrats for accepting Mr. Putin's denials when the two leaders met at a July summit in Helsinki.

"You never know how long legislation will take", he said.

USA lawmakers have introduced various pieces of Russia-related legislation, including the "Deter Act", to set out punishments for election meddling, and what one lawmaker called a sanctions bill "from hell" to punish Moscow for cyber crime and its activities in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere. It would set up automatic sanctions that take effect without White House oversight and at the discretion of the director of national security.

Some lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction with the new executive order.

There is some frustration among lawmakers that Mr Trump's executive order could undercut congressional efforts to deter any election meddling in the United States by foreign powers, according to CBS News.

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But he said: 'We have not seen the intensity of what happened in 2016, ' when the USA intelligence community determined there was a Russian-backed effort. 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.

Additionally, the order authorizes the State Department and the Treasury Department to add on additional sanctions, if deemed necessary.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Sen Marco Rubio, R-Fla., immediately issued a joint statement calling the White House effort insufficient and calling on Congress to pass tougher legislation now. "We must make sure Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation, or any other foreign actor, understands that we will respond decisively and impose punishing consequences against those who interfere in our democracy".

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

"The July Helsinki meeting between Trump and Putin has a visual effect that is searing and long lasting", said Laura Galante, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who has previously worked with the US government.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told reporters on Wednesday that the U.S. is not now seeing a Russian interference campaign, but warned that "it's only a keyboard click away". The executive order is partly an attempt to preempt those efforts.

Coats also declined to say whether he has yet received a full briefing of what Trump and Putin discussed in their one-on-one meeting, after telling reporters at the White House last month he was not in a position to "fully understand" what happened there.

Coates said that the administration acknowledges that there was interference in the 2016 election, and "we've learned our lessons".

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