Trump Calls For Use Of Sanctions To Punish Election Interference

Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return from Bedminster New Jersey to Washington U.S

WASHINGTON-In a call with journalists today, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates outlined an executive order just signed by President Donald Trump that would result in automatic sanctions against any foreign entities found to have attempted to interfere in USA elections.

The threatened sanctions are notable because they aim not just at foreign companies and individuals seeking to disrupt U.S. electoral infrastructure - electoral databases, vote tabulation processes and the like - but also of propaganda campaigns and leaks of sensitive political information.

The president has drawn criticism for his response to Russian interference in the 2016 elections, particularly after he seemed to side with President Vladimir Putin during their Helsinki summit in July.

At a press briefing following the executive order, National Security Adviser John Bolton said the move was "intended to be a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation" of United States politics, USA media reported.

"We think. that this is an important step for the president to take as the leader of the executive branch, but we're perfectly prepared to speak with members of Congress who have proposed legislation", he said.

The executive order is the latest effort by the Trump administration to look tough on security at the polls, even as Trump himself has blasted the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

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.

The executive order also comes roughly two months ahead of crucial United States mid-term elections that feature tight races.

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"The president has acted decisively today", Bolton said.

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.

With the midterm elections now two months away, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said the U.S. is not currently seeing the intensity of Russian intervention that was experienced in 2016, but didn't rule it out.

After an up-to-45-day assessing period, the gathered information will be passed to the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security, who also have 45 days to decide if they should go forward with the sanctions, explained National Security Advisor John Bolton who jointed the call. If they agree with the assessment, it would trigger automatic sanctions.

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

"This is not a single solution, but it makes a clear statement by the president that this sort of activity will not be tolerated and will be punished", the official said. "The way we have been doing it [until now] is fingernail-pulling".

Fox News political commentator Marie Harf and X Strategies Communication Vice President Madison Gesiotto discuss the strength of the US economy and how it will affect the midterm elections.

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