Pres. Trump OKs sanctions for foreigners who meddle in elections

Putin denies Russia interfered in US elections

Trump to issue order allowing sanctions on foreigners meddling in U.S. elections

It covers overt efforts to meddle in election infrastructure, such as vote counts, as well as "propaganda" and other attempts to influence voting from overseas, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats told reporters.

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

Even if Congress fails to act, the national security adviser said there should be "full waiver authorities" for the president because the challenges and threats posed to the USA occur in a "broader world that is very complex".

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

The order, not yet released, is meant as a deterrent against interference in the 2018 midterm 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.

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".

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.

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

The order, however, will apply beyond just Russian Federation to other foreign entities that are seeking to influence U.S. elections. However, Bolton said the administration wanted to immediately address and create a mechanism for election security that would be quicker than legislation having to pass Congress.

The steps outlined in the executive order are "far too little, too late", and they provide no resources to help states protect their elections against future attacks, said Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert Brady, Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Bennie Thompson, and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Elijah Cummings.

Rather than issuing a weak executive order two years after these attacks, President Trump should have responded swiftly and strongly, they said. He cast the White House action as a way to strengthen US defenses immediately.

"We felt it was important to demonstrate the president had taken command of this issue, White House National Security Advisor John Bolton said Wednesday". "The integrity of our elections and our constitutional process are a high priority to him". Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., would mandate tough sanctions on major sectors of the Russian economy, including finance, energy, and defense companies.

A wide variety of additional sanctions could be imposed under certain conditions. "We want to ensure the American public that elections have not been manipulated, their vote has not been changed".

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

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