Donald Trump approves sanctions for foreign meddling in U.S. election

Casey GreeneSep 13, 2018

President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order as soon as Wednesday that will slap sanctions on any foreign companies or people who interfere in US elections, based on intelligence agency findings, two sources familiar with the matter said.

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.

Bolton said that the executive order, entitled "Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election", would "protect the USA against interference in our elections and the political process more broadly".

"We're going to take strong action to secure our election systems and the process", Trump said in a statement.

The order, which comes just weeks ahead of November's midterm elections, will direct US intelligence agencies to investigate whether the election meddling took place.

"We have seen signs of meddling not just from Russian Federation, but from China, from Iran and even North Korea".

He said: "This clearly is a process put in place to try and ensure we are doing every possible thing we can to prevent any interference in our election".

Former National Security Agency chief Mike Rogers said in his first public remarks since leaving his post in June that he wishes President Donald Trump would have used the Helsinki Summit to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin on election meddling. Some bills would take the president out of the process for automatic sanctions and include more penalties on Russian Federation. However, Bolton said the administration wanted to immediately address and create a mechanism for election security that would be quicker than legislation having to pass Congress. Those backing the legislation say that under the bill, a nation would know exactly what it would face if caught. Bolton noted that the scope of the order included not just attacks on election infrastructure but also "the distribution of propaganda" meant to impact the electoral process.

FILE - U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Aug. 2, 2018.

Mr. Trump later said he misspoke and vouched for intelligence agencies' findings. The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned.

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

Automatic sanctions should act as a deterrent, he said, although he added a major caveat.

The White House declined to comment.

A person familiar with the process told The Hill that the White House had been in touch with Rubio's office in the days before the order was signed, and that administration officials told the senator's aides that the bipartisan legislation had influenced the language in the order.

Part of the order includes declaring a "national emergency" that will allow sanctions to move forward. 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.

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