Trump to Order Sanctions Against Countries That Interfere in US Elections

Marsha Scott
September 15, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order calling for sanctions against foreign citizens, entities or governments found to have interfered in U.S. elections. The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned.

At a press briefing following the executive order, National Security Adviser John Bolton said the move was "intended to be a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation" of USA politics, U.S. media reported. 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.

Trump has drawn widespread criticism for not taking threats to the United States electoral system seriously enough, particularly Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.

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

Dan Coats, the U.S. director of national intelligence, said that the intelligence community had not yet spotted activity on a scale of that seen before the 2016 election, but warned that escalation was only a "keyboard click" away. United States intelligence agencies now believe that Russian Federation would again try to interfere the mid-term polls this year and also the 2020 presidential elections.

"We have not seen the intensity of what happened in 2016, but as I have said ... it is only a keyboard click away", Mr. Coats said.

National Security Adviser John Bolton also said the oversight bodies would "calibrate what sanctions will be, based on the interference". That legislation is focused against Russian Federation, as compared with the more ecumenical order announced by the White House.

"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".

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"When it comes to foreign policy, my administration has delivered decisively and taken action where previous administrations have not", Trump said.

"My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, and said they think it's Russia", Trump said.

"If we are going to actually deter Russian Federation and others from interfering in our elections in the future, we need to spell out strong, clear consequences, without ambiguity", Warner added.

The order, coming only eight weeks before congressional elections on November 6, drew immediate criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers as too little, too late.

'This clearly is a process put in place to try to assure that we are doing every possible thing we can to first of all prevent any interference in our election, ' said Coats.

Bolton said the order was necessary to ensure a formal process and authorisation for sanctions, but he said he was in talks with lawmakers about legislation as well.

"While the President appears to acknowledge that foreign actors will continue to attempt to interfere in our elections, he makes no mention of previous Russian attacks", they alleged. Russian entities have not targeted those systems to the degree they did in 2016, Coats said Wednesday. He has cited U.S. sanctions and the expulsion of alleged Russian spies from the US.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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