ibusinesslines.com November 17, 2018

Trump signs order to allow sanctions for United States election meddling

15 September 2018, 01:26 | Erica Roy

AFP Getty Images

AFP  Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order early Wednesday to deter meddling into US election by foreign entities ahead of the 2018 mid-terms and the 2020 presidential election.

Mr. Bolton said the president made clear his support for USA spy agencies, imposed sanctions on Russian Federation and took other actions such as the executive order.

The order will direct the intelligence community to assess if any foreign individual, entity or country has interfered in a US election, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told reporters at a conference call held at Wednesday noon.

Bolton said under the order, the intelligence community would have 45 days to determine whether there was meddling in the election.

The executive action came less than two months before the November 6 midterm elections, and two years after US authorities say Russian Federation meddled in the presidential race won by Trump.

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.

"It's more than Russian Federation here that we are looking at", National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told reporters on a conference call, specifying that USA intelligence agencies are concerned about the ability of Iran, North Korea and China to interfere in the election, and threatening an "automatic response to that".

While Coates said that "we have not seen the intensity of activity from 2016", the intelligence community has seen signs that there are efforts underway by a number of actors to manipulate the political process this year. Coats also highlighted potential meddling from China, Iran and North Korea.

However, in a conference call, Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence identified Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea having capabilities to do so.

The Treasury and State departments also would be advised of the election attack and would be able to impose additional sanctions.

"I think it's going to be good", said Sean Kanuck, a former intelligence officer for cyber issues, now with the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

He said sanctions could be imposed during or after an election, based on evidence gathered.

If there is a consensus that a foreign country or other entity tried to meddle in the election, automatic sanctions would be triggered, Coats said. So the others, do incorporate - it's more than Russian Federation here that we're looking at'. Bolton said the order was necessary to ensure a formal process and authorisation for sanctions.

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. Those backing the legislation say that under the bill, a nation would know exactly what it would face if caught.

"There is no question that protecting our elections from foreign interference is one of the most pressing issues facing our country today", Rubio and Van Hollen said in a joint statement Wednesday.

Trump has been dogged by accusations that he has not given enough credence to foreign interference in the U.S. election system, including in the 2016 race he won against Hillary Clinton.

The order, which will allow new sanctions against Russian or other foreign actors, was inked on Wednesday morning.

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