Trump signs order to allow sanctions for U.S. election meddling

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President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that will slap sanctions on foreign companies or people who interfere in United States elections.

Coats and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who also presented the new order to the press, said it showed that President Trump was prioritizing American election security.

Justice and Homeland Security would have 45 days to make a determination and notify the president to trigger the sanctions.

Those sanctions could include blocking access to property and interests, restricting access to the USA financial system, prohibiting investment in companies found to be involved, and even prohibiting individuals from entering the United States. It will impose sanctions on any foreign entities found trying to meddle in US elections, and would be "another tool in the tool kit" to protect the USA election system, an administration official told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

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.

While the Obama administration privately warned Russian Federation to stop interfering on behalf of Trump, Yahoo News Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff says it's fair to criticize Obama for not taking sterner action.

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

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"The Obama folks did not want any public statement they made about what the Russians were doing to look partisan", Isikoff said, "because they were afraid that Trump would use it for political effect".

"There has been no evidence of a foreign power altering the outcome or vote tabulation in any United States election", Trump said in a statement, nevertheless adding that "We're going to take strong action to secure our election systems and the process". "These are sensitive, sometimes very unsafe operations, and we have to operate with respect to sources and methods", he said. He cast the White House action as a way to strengthen US defenses immediately. It also lays out how the Treasury and State departments will recommend what sanctions to impose.

Mr. Coats said intelligence agencies were working around the clock to protect the midterm elections.

But aides have said that Trump's anger at what he views as a questioning of his surprise election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton colors his view of the threat to future elections, and slowed down the administration's planning for this year's congressional election.

And while some of the proposed legislation focuses on Russian Federation, the officials said it was important to take a broader view.

"It's more than Russian Federation", he said, noting potential threats from China, North Korea and Iran.

Bolton said over the last two weeks, he and Coats have spoken to over two dozen members of Congress to discuss possible ideas but said he believes the executive order is an "important step for the president to take as leader of the executive branch".

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