Trump signs order authorizing sanctions for election meddling
13 September, 2018, 04:30 | Author: Carlos George
WASHINGTON-In a call with journalists today, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates outlined an executive order just signed by President Donald Trump that would result in automatic sanctions against any foreign entities found to have attempted to interfere in USA elections.
Former National Security Agency chief Mike Rogerssaid 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.
Bolton says the executive order will work to stem disinformation campaigns or any attempt to manipulate the outcome of ballots.
The 2018 USA midterms are less than two months away and authorities are pre-empting foreign attacks on the elections based on US intelligence.
It is understood that Russian Federation is not mentioned by name in the text, but U.S. officials named that country along with China, North Korea and Iran as most likely to try to sway United States elections.
Amid serious backlash from both sides of the aisle, the Republican president later explained that he "misspoke" and said he had "great confidence" in U.S. intelligence.
Bolton and Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats said the signing of the executive order on a conference call.
During the briefing, Bolton was asked why Trump opted for an executive order instead of working with Congress. The order gives the administration broad authority to the government to sanction any foreign entity suspected of interfering in US elections.
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Sanction targets could include individual people or entire companies accused of interfering in USA elections by cyber attacks or other means, a US official told Reuters. In making that assessment, the DNI will consult with all of the US' multifarious intelligence agencies.
The State and Treasury departments would decide on additional sanctions to recommend and impose.
At their summit in Helsinki, Trump downplayed US intelligence assessments that Russian Federation was responsible for cyberattacks on Democrats ahead of the 2016 election.
The lawmakers said Trump's executive order does not change the need for legislation.
Trump signed the order just two months before the midterms.
It requires the national intelligence director to make regular assessments about foreign interference and asks the Homeland Security and Justice departments to submit reports on meddling in campaign-related infrastructure.
The executive order applies to anyone who authorizes, directs or sponsors such meddling. He said he was in talks with lawmakers about possible legislation. "Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply can not be counted upon to stand up to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin when it matters", said Warner, who is sponsoring the bill.
The sanctions themselves range from blocked assets, export licenses, access to banking and lending, credit transfers, or US investors, according to Bolton. But these sanctions have apparently not deterred the Russian government and other countries with an adversarial relationship with the United States from maneuvering to affect the outcome of some 2018 congressional races, according to Coates.
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