Trump signs order permitting sanctions for foreign election meddling

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

"This is meant to be a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation of the political process", national security adviser John Bolton said during a briefing Wednesday.

The move comes less than two months before the 2018 midterm elections, and just weeks after Dan Coats, Trump's director of national intelligence, warned of a "pervasive messaging campaign by Russian Federation to try to weaken and divide the United States" before Americans go to the polls in November.

"The President has said repeatedly he is determined there not be foreign interference (in U.S. elections)".

But he said: 'We have not seen the intensity of what happened in 2016, ' when the USA intelligence community determined there was a Russian-backed effort. Russian President Vladimir Putin stood alongside Trump in Finland in July and admitted he and his government wanted Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Last week, Trump's former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI as part of Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference.

Mike Rogers, former director of the National Security Agency, said he thought Trump missed an opportunity in Helsinki to publicly scold Russian Federation for meddling.

"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.

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

National security adviser John Bolton said a new White House order on election security isn't aimed at any particular country.

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The order calls for sanctioning any individual, company or country that interferes with campaign infrastructure, such as voter registration databases, voting machines and equipment used for tabulating or transmitting results.

"I would veto that bill in order to protect presidential power". The order would direct intelligence agencies to assess whether any people or entities interfered.

The order will empower the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, the NSA, and the Department of Homeland Security to make decisions on if election meddling happened.

Mr. Trump later said he misspoke and vouched for intelligence agencies' findings.

Justice and Homeland Security would have 45 days to make a determination and notify the president to trigger the sanctions. The State and Treasury departments would decide on additional sanctions to recommend and impose.

Bolton said Wednesday that the White House is open to ideas and proposals from lawmakers, but said new legislation might be slow in coming.

And while some of the proposed legislation focuses on Russian Federation, the officials said it was important to take a broader view.

Speaking at George Mason University, Rogers went on to say that Trump "opted to go in a different direction and that certainly is his right as the President", adding, "but I wish we had taken advantage of that opportunity". He said the USA is also anxious about the cyber activities of China, North Korea and Iran. "The United States can and must do more", they said in a statement.

Any individual, entity or country which authorises, directs, sponsors or supports interference could be hit with economic penalties under the United States president's new order. The two lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require such mandatory sanctions earlier this year.

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