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Trump signs sanctions for foreigners who meddle in polls

Trump signs sanctions for foreigners who meddle in polls

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

"We felt it was important to demonstrate the President has taken command of this issue, 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 told reporters on Wednesday.

At that same press conference, Trump blamed tensions between the United States and Russian Federation on special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation into Moscow's interference in the 2016 election is routinely slammed as a "witch hunt" by the president.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the investigation as a "witch hunt".

Bolton, describing the order as a mandate that "goes to any action that's taken with the intent of interfering in the election", also said it was not "country-specific". "The president has acted decisively today".

The executive order comes as bills in the House and Senate have gained support that would require sanctions against any government or person determined to have engaged in electoral interference.

Trump's decision coincides with intelligence agencies, military and law enforcement preparing to defend the November 6 congressional elections from predicted foreign attacks even as Trump derides a special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Justice and Homeland Security would have 45 days to make a determination and notify the president to trigger the sanctions. If they agree with the assessment, it would trigger automatic sanctions.

Potential sanctions could include a block on financial transactions, export license restrictions, restrictions on access to American financial institutions and investments, and restrictions on entry to the US.

The order sets up a 90-day time frame for assessing reports of any kind of interference by foreign individuals and companies, and then deciding on the appropriate sanctions, which include freezing assets, banning business dealings with Americans and locking the actors out of the U.S. financial system.

A key State Department official praised the executive order as a good start. "It's more than Russian Federation here that we're looking at", Coats said. He just said it's not Russian Federation. "The way we have been doing it [until now] is fingernail-pulling".

U.S. President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return from Bedminster, New Jersey, to Washington, U.S., August 19, 2018.

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Rogers said he would tell Trump: "Mr. President, I understand that, but I'm paid by the citizens of the nation to tell you what we think".

Still, Kanuck said the executive order alone is likely not enough.

"You never know how long legislation is going to take", he answered. "I doubt it will completely change the incentive-cost-benefit analysis of the other side".

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

Some lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction with the new executive order.

"James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, raised that concern".

But aides have said that Trump's anger at what he views as a questioning of his surprise election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton colors his view of the threat to future elections, and slowed down the administration's planning for this year's congressional election.

While not strictly specified, the order more than likely targets Russian Federation.

The order served as a warning to foreign governments contemplating cyberstrikes on America's elections and campaigns, said Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, who also briefed reporters.

"In terms of what the influence is and will be, we continue to analyze all that", Coats added.

"This is an ongoing effort here, and it has been for a significant amount of time", he said.


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