Pres. Trump OKs sanctions for foreigners who meddle in elections

Putin denies Russia interfered in US elections

Putin denies Russia interfered in US elections

- The former Director of the National Security Agency, retired Admiral Mike Rogers, said Tuesday that he thought President Donald Trump should have taken the opportunity to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly in Helsinki, Finland over Russia's election meddling. The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned.

Bolton said that the executive order, entitled "Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election", would "protect the U.S. against interference in our elections and the political process more broadly".

The order gives the government 45 days after an election to assess whether there has been any outside influence, and then another 45 days to assess whether sanctions can be imposed.

The move follows sustained criticism of the president for failing to take seriously threats to the United States electoral system from foreign actors.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said the directive was in response to alleged Kremlin interference in the 2016 presidential election.

While the intelligence community keeps a close tab on any worldwide interference before the elections, after the elections, the executive order directs the intelligence agencies to assess whether or not whether or not there has been any individual entity, country that has authorised, directed sponsored or otherwise supported an interference in the United States election, Coats said.

Added Coats: 'We have seen signs of not just Russian Federation, but from China, from - capabilities potentially from Iran and even North Korea.

"We're taking nothing for granted here", Mr Coats said.

White House National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Wednesday that now, Trump had "acted decisively" on the issue.

Specifically, the executive order authorises appropriate and meaningful sanctions - some are full blocking sanctions, others are to be designed and calibrated in light of specific facts - against any individual, foreign entity, or country that authorises, directs, sponsors, or otherwise supports foreign interference in a USA election, he said.

"Today's announcement by the administration recognizes the threat, but does not go far enough to address it", Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said in a joint statement Wednesday.

"By mandating the imposition of sanctions against any individual or entity that seeks to interfere in our elections, we are sending a clear signal that the United States government will not tolerate interference of any kind and will use every tool at our disposal to protect our democratic process", she said.

If there is a consensus that a foreign country or other entity tried to meddle in the election, automatic sanctions would be triggered, Coats said.

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.

Bolton said over the last two weeks, he and Coats have spoken to over two dozen members of Congress to discuss possible ideas but said he believes the executive order is an "important step for the president to take as leader of the executive branch". "It's more than Russian Federation here that we're looking at", he said.

In the discussion on Tuesday evening, Rogers also recounted his conversations with Trump about Russia's continued attempts to disrupt the USA electoral system through cyber means in 2016 and beyond.

At the same time, outside experts have warned for more than a year that Russian efforts to manipulate US voters through misleading social media postings are likely to have grown more sophisticated and harder to detect. "And if we don't do something, they (the Russians) are not going to stop".

The public will be informed of interference activity when sanctions occur, Bolton said Wednesday on the conference call.