Sun | Sep 15, 2019

Trump OKs sanctions for foreigners who meddle in elections

Published:Thursday | September 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM


President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday authorising sanctions against foreigners who meddle in US elections, a move that counters critics who claim he has not taking election security seriously enough.

The executive order covers not just interference with campaign infrastructure, but also the distribution of disin-formation and propaganda, national security adviser John Bolton told reporters. The order requires the Office of the National Intelligence Director to conduct regular assessments about potential foreign inter-ference in the elections and asks for reports by the Homeland Security and Justice depart-ments in the case of meddling in campaign-related infras-tructure, he said. It also describes a process for the Treasury and State departments to recommend appropriate, automatic sanctions.

"We felt it was important to demonstrate the president has taken command of this issue, that it's something he cares deeply about - that the integrity of our elections and our constitutional process are a high priority to him," Bolton said.

With the midterm elections now two months away, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said that the US is not currently seeing the intensity of Russian intervention that was ex-perienced in 2016 but didn't rule it out. He said the US is also worried about the cyber activities of China, North Korea, and Iran.

Coats said that the executive order directs intelligence agencies to determine whether an individual, entity or country has interfered in a US election and, if so, to turn the informa-tion over to the attorney general and Department of Homeland Security. He said the order also directs intelligence officials to conduct an assessment after elections to inform the public about what might have occurred.