Trump to target election meddling with new sanctions order

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

Trump to target election meddling with new sanctions order

But the order received a lukewarm reception from bipartisan lawmakers pushing for a new sanctions law.

According to reports, the order has been in the works for months.

In the order, the president declared a national emergency, an action required under sanctions authority, to deal with the threat of foreign meddling in USA elections.

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

It also comes as the White House is trying to take a tougher line against Moscow after Trump publicly accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials of his country's involvement in any interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, contrary to the findings of the USA intelligence community.

Election interference will be defined in the order as hacking attempts against "election infrastructure", and efforts to sway public opinion through coordinated digital propaganda or systematic leaks of private political information.

The steps outlined in the executive order are "far too little, too late", and they provide no resources to help states protect their elections against future attacks, said Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert Brady, Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Bennie Thompson, and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Elijah Cummings. The executive order is partly an attempt to preempt those efforts.

"President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today". And evidence would not be forthcoming in the event that the White House considers sanctions under this order-the first word of any assessment would come with the sanctions themselves, Bolton told reporters.

The White House looks set to toughen up against foreign meddling in US elections.

"We felt it was important to demonstrate the president had taken command of this issue".

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'That It's something he cares deeply about that the integrity of our elections and our constitutional process are a high priority to him, ' Bolton said. But then to do a full assessment after the election to ensure the American people are told exactly of what may have happened or may not have happened.

Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., the vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also criticized the executive order, which he said puts too much power in the hands of a president who has previously failed to demand accountability from Russian Federation on the issue. 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".

"While the administration has yet to share the full text, an executive order that inevitably leaves the President broad discretion to decide whether to impose tough sanctions against those who attack our democracy is insufficient", said Sen Mark Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate investigation into Russian Federation.

Christopher Swift, a national security professor at Georgetown University and a lawyer specializing in Russian sanctions, called the executive order an "encouraging development" from a president he thinks pulls his punches on Russia. That report will then be turned over to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well as the Department of Homeland Security.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the intelligence community have seen "signs" of interference from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, but nothing to the level of the 2016 election.

Added Coats: 'We have seen signs of not just Russian Federation, but from China, from - capabilities potentially from Iran and even North Korea.

"The White House has oversight".

"We have not seen the intensity of what happened in 2016, but it's only a keyboard click away".

"This is not a single solution, but it makes a clear statement by the president that this sort of activity will not be tolerated and will be punished", the official said.

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