World

Trump signs order to punish foreign meddlers in U.S. votes

Trump signs order to punish foreign meddlers in U.S. votes

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order aimed at punishing foreign actors that attempt to interfere in US elections, as Russian Federation did in in the 2016 presidential election.

National Security Adviser John Bolton and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told reporters Wednesday that the executive order was evidence the president has made election security a priority.

The executive order requires the intelligence community and other federal agencies to assess the extent of any foreign interference after every U.S. election.

"We needed to put this in a formal process and we need to make sure the State Department and the Department of the Treasury are authorized to go through the analysis they need to engage and determine what the appropriate sanctions are", Bolton said.

"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. Check back for updates. "So I think this order is a further demonstration of that", he added.

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

The executive order does not name any particular country.




How the executive order impacts Russian Federation and other countries notorious for election meddling will depend largely on how its implemented by the White House, according to CBS News. He said the U.S.is also anxious about the cyber activities of China, North Korea and Iran.

Robert Mueller, a special counsel, has been looking into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and any potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, a claim that has been denied both by Moscow and Trump himself. 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.

Bipartisan bills like the one proposed by U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. - the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines, or DETER, Act - have been introduced recently, but have not yet been passed.

Sanction targets could include individual people or entire companies accused of interfering in US elections by cyber attacks or other means, a USA official told Reuters.

"The July Helsinki meeting between Trump and Putin has a visual effect that is searing and long lasting", said Laura Galante, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who has previously worked with the US government. There is some frustration among lawmakers that with this executive order, Mr. Trump could be undercutting congressional efforts. But he said the order will apply not just to Russian Federation but to others possible bad actors, including China, North Korea, and Iran. "I have President Putin".

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M Nielsen also said election security is national security and any attempt to interfere in the democratic institutions is unacceptable. "This is an ongoing effort here, and it has been for a significant amount of time, and will continue on a, literally, 24-hour-a-day basis until the election".


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