US warns of sanctions for foreign election meddling

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

Trump to issue order allowing sanctions on foreigners meddling in U.S. elections

The order gives the administration broad authority to the government to sanction any foreign entity suspected of interfering in US elections.

The order comes two months before Americans go to the polls in elections that will determine control of Congress, potentially dramatically reshaping the balance of power in Washington.

CBS News confirmed Tuesday that the White House was preparing the executive order. He added that "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".

Coats and Bolton said the president's action was not aimed at short-circuiting congressional action.

While the intelligence community keeps a close tab on any global interference before the elections, after the elections, the executive order directs the intelligence agencies to assess whether or not whether or not there has been any individual entity, country that has authorised, directed sponsored or otherwise supported an interference in the USA election, Coats said. "These are sensitive, sometimes very risky operations, and we have to operate with respect to sources and methods", he said.

Trump has pushed back, saying that no other American president has been as tough on Russian Federation.

Under investigation for his campaign's ties to the Russian government, President Trump has often lashed out at Obama for what he sees as an inherent contradiction.

The move arrived after the president has received criticism over his handling of Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, which the USA intelligence community confirmed took place a year ago.

The administration is ready to work with Congress on a sanctions law, Mr. Bolton said, but the White House wants to move fast.

Bolton said that the USA considers interference to be not only attacks on election infrastructure but also the distribution of propaganda and disinformation.

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

The order will allow the Director of National Intelligence to identify foreign meddlers and direct the Treasury Department to apply sanctions.

"It's more than Russian Federation here that we are looking at", Coats said, noting that there have been signs of election interference coming from China, Iran and North Korea.

"I thought there was an opportunity there that I wish we would have taken advantage of", the retired rear admiral told a think tank in Virginia.

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

The intelligence agencies will then send their findings to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, which will have another 45 days to decide whether the USA should impose sanctions on the foreign entities in question.

The order does not directly mention Russian Federation or its influence operations in the 2016 election, though it would effectively punish any culprits involved in USA intelligence community findings regarding the controversy.

The executive order covers not just interference with campaign infrastructure, but it also covers the distribution of disinformation and propaganda, national security adviser John Bolton told reporters.

"I don't know that it will be a complete solution", he said.

"It's more than Russian Federation that we're monitoring here", Coats said.

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