Trump signs executive order to sanction foreign meddlers in U.S

Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return from Bedminster New Jersey to Washington U.S

"This is meant to be a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation of the political process", national security adviser John Bolton said during a briefing Wednesday.

The order instructs the intelligence community to monitor and report on attempts to disrupt election infrastructure as well as propaganda.

Coats warned last month that Russian Federation is trying to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections.

He said sanctions could be imposed during or after an election, based on evidence gathered. "I think his actions speak for themselves".

Instead, the main action taken since then has been indictments issued by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible collusion with Russian Federation.

The order, however, will apply beyond just Russian Federation to other foreign entities that are seeking to influence United States elections. Some lawmakers - including some Republicans as well as Democrats - have chafed at what they saw as the administration's reluctance to implement it. Trump signed the bill only after Congress passed it with huge majorities.

"President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today".

Congress has been purposefully left out of the executive order drafting process, the official said, because the administration wants to preempt legislation being considered in the House and Senate that addresses similar issues. He cast the White House action as a way to strengthen USA defenses immediately.

"We felt it was important to demonstrate the president had taken command of this issue". This is because, he explained, threats to the integrity of the election process come from a number of sources. The State Department and Treasury could decide to take additional measures.


"As we enter election season this fall, the American people can rest assured that we are working diligently to ensure that our democracy remains secure from foreign threats", Trump said.

In a joint statement, senators Chris Van Hollen and Marco Rubio - who co-sponsored legislation that would mandate heavy sanctions for election meddling - seconded Warner's assessment. Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat who is vice chairman of the intelligence committee, said, "Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply can not be counted upon to stand up to Putin when it matters".

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

Coats said USA intelligence and law enforcement agencies were looking broadly for evidence of interference.

Coats listed Iran, North Korea and China as other countries that have the capability to launch attacks on elections.

"The White House has oversight".

"This clearly is a process put in place to try to assure that we are doing every possible thing we can, first of all, to prevent any interference with our elections to report on anything we see between now and the election".

Lawmakers and independent analysts say that federal and state action has already made USA voting systems more secure against foreign hackers.

"Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren't they the subject of the investigation?" He has cited USA sanctions and the expulsion of alleged Russian spies from the US.

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