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White House readies sanctions on foreign nations for election meddling

White House readies sanctions on foreign nations for election meddling”

Facing pressure from lawmakers to beef up election security, President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that would impose sanctions on any foreign person or country that attempts to interfere in US elections.

Coats and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who also presented the new order to the press, said it showed that President Trump was prioritizing American election security.

"It's more than Russian Federation here that we are looking at", National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told reporters on a conference call, specifying that USA intelligence agencies are concerned about the ability of Iran, North Korea and China to interfere in the election, and threatening an "automatic response to that". The executive order, called "Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election", establishes a mechanism to impose sanctions on any foreign individual or company found interfering.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said the order leaves the president with broad discretion to decide whether to impose tough sanctions. Check back for updates.

"I think his actions speak for themselves", Bolton said. Congress passed a Russian Federation sanctions bill more than a year ago.

Some lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction with the new executive order.

Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., the vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also criticized the executive order, which he said puts too much power in the hands of a president who has previously failed to demand accountability from Russian Federation on the issue. Coats said the United States had seen signs of election meddling from Russian Federation and China, and potential capabilities for such meddling from Iran and North Korea.

But the order received a lukewarm reception from bipartisan lawmakers pushing for a new sanctions law.

"We are looking forward, using the basis of 2016 as a warning signal.so that doesn't happen again", Coats said, promising round-the-clock monitoring through November. "They are committed to undermining our system", Clapper said.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Chris Van Hollen said in a joint statement on Wednesday that the newly-signed order "recognizes the threat, but does not go far enough to address it".

The administration has also leveled sanctions against Russian Federation on numerous occasions as punishment for the Sergei Skripal nerve agent attack, interference in the 2016 election and other "malign" activity.

"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 USA government.

The executive order in this regard is likely to be signed by Trump as early as Wednesday.

While not a fan of Mr. Trump, he said the issue was bigger than the occupant of the White House.

Coats also declined to say whether he has yet received a full briefing of what Trump and Putin discussed in their one-on-one meeting, after telling reporters at the White House last month he was not in a position to "fully understand" what happened there. "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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