Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Trump to target election meddling with new sanctions order

Trump to target election meddling with new sanctions order

USA intelligence agencies concluded that entities backed by the Kremlin sought to boost Republican Trump's chances of winning the White House in the 2016 election against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Instead, he seemed to accept Putin's denials that Moscow sought to influence the presidential contest.

Trump has drawn widespread criticism for not taking threats to the USA electoral system seriously enough, particularly Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.

Trump has come under fire from both Democrats and Republicans, who accuse the president of taking a weak stance on accusations of Russian interference.

Sanctions could include freezing assets, restricting foreign exchange transactions, limiting access to U.S. financial institutions, and prohibiting United States citizens from investing in companies involved, said White House national security adviser John Bolton.

The order instructs the intelligence community to monitor and report on attempts to disrupt election infrastructure as well as propaganda.

On a conference call with reporters, National Security Advisor John Bolton said this is a multi-agency process put in place to assure that the administration is doing everything possible to prevent any interference ahead of the elections and will provide for full assessment after the election to assure the American people of the integrity of their vote. "The President has said repeatedly he is determined there not be foreign interference (in United States elections)".

Both lawmakers previously proposed legislation that would impose mandatory sanctions on those who interfere in USA elections, rather than directing various departments and agencies to go through a months-long process.

Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat who is vice-chairman of the intelligence committee, said, "Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply can not be counted upon to stand up to Putin when it matters".

Congress has been purposefully left out of the executive order drafting process, the official said, because the administration wants to preempt legislation being considered in the House and Senate that addresses similar issues. That includes the November 6 midterm congressional elections.

Trump speaks with reporters after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base Tuesday.

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

At their summit in Helsinki, Trump downplayed US intelligence assessments that Russian Federation was responsible for cyberattacks on Democrats ahead of the 2016 election.

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

It is understood that Russian Federation is not mentioned by name in the text, but U.S. officials named that country along with China, North Korea and Iran as most likely to try to sway United States elections. Some lawmakers have chafed at what they saw as the administration's reluctance to implement it. They said Trump's order recognizes the threat, but doesn't go far enough. Acting on the law, the Treasury Department has imposed sanctions against 24 Russians, striking at allies of Putin.

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