Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump signs executive order targeting election interference

Trump signs executive order targeting election interference

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order that authorizes new sanctions on foreign countries or individuals that try to interfere in US elections.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said the order leaves the president with broad discretion to decide whether to impose tough sanctions. And after each election, the intelligence community will have 45 days to investigate whether there was an attempt at interference, followed by a Justice Department review.

Trump was derided in July for not publicly confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin about the election interference during a summit in Helsinki.

"It's a further effort, among several that the administration has made, to protect the United States against foreign interference in our elections and really our political process more broadly", Bolton said.

In the works for months, the order will allow the director of National Intelligence, with input from other intelligence agencies, to assess and identify foreign actors responsible for election meddling, and direct the Treasury Department to apply sanctions.

With the midterm elections now two months away, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said the USA is not currently seeing the intensity of Russian intervention that was experienced in 2016, but didn't rule it out. 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.

National Security Adviser John Bolton, meanwhile, denied on Wednesday that the criticism had influenced the president's decision to take measures to dissuade foreign powers from interfering in the races for both houses of Congress.

Some lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction with the new executive order.

"I think his actions speak for themselves", Bolton said.

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Hunt's response to the abusive phone calls contrasts the reaction another MSNBC panel had to the profanity-laced voicemails. The liberal groups chose the right candidate to target, but it seems they went far astray in this attempted bribe.

The order was described by a USA official familiar with its drafting as "another tool in the tool kit" to deter election interference by foreign adversaries.

The order, however, will apply beyond just Russian Federation to other foreign entities that are seeking to influence U.S. elections.

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

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 said he was in talks with lawmakers about possible legislation.

Congress already passed a Russian Federation sanctions bill a year ago, in one of Washington's most aggressive moves to punish Moscow.

But, they added, "we must make sure Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation, or any other foreign actor, understands that we will respond decisively and impose punishing consequences against those who interfere in our democracy".

He said the intelligence community has been working on this for a while, but the executive order puts into place a formal process to ensure the administration is doing everything it possibly can to prevent foreign interference.

At the same time, outside experts have warned for more than a year that Russian efforts to manipulate US voters through misleading social media postings are likely to have grown more sophisticated and harder to detect.

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