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Trump Signs Executive Order to Sanction Foreigners Who Interfere in U.S

Trump Signs Executive Order to Sanction Foreigners Who Interfere in U.S

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to give federal agencies power to sanction countries, foreign individuals and companies that interfere or spread misinformation in USA elections.

The former Director of the National Security Agency, retired Admiral Mike Rogers, said Tuesday that he thought President Donald Trump should have taken the opportunity to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly in Helsinki, Finland over Russia's election meddling.

The executive order covers not just interference with campaign infrastructure, but it also covers the distribution of disinformation and propaganda, national security adviser John Bolton told reporters.

While Coates said that "we have not seen the intensity of activity from 2016", the intelligence community has seen signs that there are efforts underway by a number of actors to manipulate the political process this year.

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.

That drew outrage from both Republican and Democrats.

Coats said the executive order directs intelligence agencies to determine whether an individual, entity or country has interfered in a US election and, if so, turn the information over to the attorney general and Department of Homeland Security. With the current climate focused on Russian interference, Bolton was quick to clarify that the executive order is "not country-specific" and that Trump "cares deeply about it".

Trump has repeatedly called the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election a "witch hunt", and alleged without evidence that the inquiry is "rigged" against him. The order gives the administration broad authority to the government to sanction any foreign entity suspected of interfering in US elections.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said this will be a 24-hour-a-day effort until election day.

The White House imposed a number of new sanctions against Russia in March for election interference, and the Justice Department filed indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers in July.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russian Federation was behind an effort to tip the scale of the USA election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorised campaign of cyber-attacks and fake news stories planted on social media. Instead, he seemed to accept Putin's denials that Moscow sought to influence the presidential contest. Then the two departments would have 45 days to determine whether action is required, Coats told reporters. Following those reports, the Treasury and State Departments can decide on appropriate and additional sanctions to impose.

Bolton said the order was necessary to ensure a formal process and authorization for sanctions. The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned. He said he was in talks with lawmakers about possible legislation. So the others, do incorporate - it's more than Russian Federation here that we're looking at'.

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

Congress passed a Russian Federation sanctions bill more than a year ago. 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.


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