Trump signs order to allow sanctions for United States election meddling

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"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", they said.

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order authorising sanctions against individuals or countries found to have meddled in American elections.

The threatened sanctions are notable because they aim not just at foreign companies and individuals seeking to disrupt U.S. electoral infrastructure - electoral databases, vote tabulation processes and the like - but also of propaganda campaigns and leaks of sensitive political information.

Trump was derided in July for not publicly confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin about the election interference during a summit in Helsinki.

Specifically, the executive order authorises appropriate and meaningful sanctions - some are full blocking sanctions, others are to be designed and calibrated in light of specific facts - against any individual, foreign entity, or country that authorises, directs, sponsors, or otherwise supports foreign interference in a USA election, he said.

"We felt it was important to demonstrate the President has taken command of this issue, 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 told reporters on Wednesday. Russian Federation denies meddling and Trump has dismissed the probe as a "witch hunt".

The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal previously reported on earlier drafts of the executive order.

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US, India sign deal on sharing intel Lawmakers introduce resolution to back naming North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters after McCain Obama readies fall campaign push, but some Dems say no thanks MORE (D-Md.) introduced the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act earlier this year, which would penalize Russian Federation or other foreign governments that try to interfere in USA elections. Then the two departments would have 45 days to determine whether action is required, Coats told reporters.

The sanctions could include blocking the assets of the individuals and entities within the USA jurisdiction, prohibiting US individuals and entities from engaging in transactions with or investing in the entities involved.

The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will then have another 45 days to decide whether or not to impose "automatic" sanctions and the heads of the State and Defense Departments will evaluate whether to levy even more severe punishments.

A key State Department official praised the executive order as a good start.

"If we see something, there's going to be an automatic response to that", Coats said. "The way we have been doing it [until now] is fingernail-pulling".

Congress is also considering several pieces of legislation that would punish foreign countries for interfering in US elections.

"I think his actions speak for themselves", he said.

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Still, Kanuck said the executive order alone is likely not enough.

Warner and others said Congress should still move forward with legislation. "I doubt it will completely change the incentive-cost-benefit analysis of the other side".

"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 USA government.

"Today's announcement by the Administration recognizes the threat, but does not go far enough to address it", they argued.

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

DNI Coats said the measure was being put in place as part of government efforts to report on any suspicious activity between now and November's elections and to do a full assessment after the election that would trigger sanctions if necessary.

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