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Trump signs order authorizing "automatic" sanctions for election interference

Trump signs order authorizing

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order on Wednesday to punish any foreign interference in U.S. elections, a latest attempt by the administration to show its resolution to fight against elections meddling, said U.S. officials.

Administration officials said the executive order sets up a framework for assessing interference, reporting it to the president and punishing it with sanctions.

"It includes not just the interference with election or campaign infrastructure, but it also covers the distribution of propaganda, disinformation", US National Security Advisor John Bolton said.

The sanctions would automatically be triggered against a foreign government if they are found to have interfered or influenced elections.

The order pushes back on criticism that Mr. Trump has been soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump's executive order declares that a "national emergency" exists linked to possible foreign interference in the USA elections, a declaration that creates a legal basis for the future imposition of sanctions linked to that issue.

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Under the order, the government would punish intelligence community findings of foreign interference in USA elections with penalties against culprits, as well as the threat of more penalties.

"It's more than Russian Federation", he said, noting potential threats from China, North Korea and Iran.

"In regards to Russian involvement in the midterm elections, we continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States", Coats said in August.

"So if the White House doesn't like something for some reason or wants to drag its feet or there's not enough information from the available intelligence, the automatic nature of this might not be as automatic as the executive order suggests", he said. It also lays out how the Treasury and State departments will recommend what sanctions to impose. The White House hopes the order will help dispel the notion that Trump has allowed election meddling to go unchallenged.

"I think his actions speak for themselves", he said.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Sen Marco Rubio, R-Fla., immediately issued a joint statement calling the White House effort insufficient and calling on Congress to pass tougher legislation now.

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"The president has said repeatedly that he is determined that there not be foreign interference in our elections", Bolton told reporters.

"If we are going to actually deter Russian Federation and others from interfering in our elections in the future, we need to spell out strong, clear consequences, without ambiguity", Mr. Warner said.

The lawmakers said Trump's executive order does not change the need for legislation.

USA intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russian Federation was behind an effort to tip the scale of the U.S. election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorised campaign of cyber-attacks and fake news stories planted on social media.

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

'This clearly is a process put in place to try to assure that we are doing every possible thing we can to first of all prevent any interference in our election, ' said Coats.

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Winds this morning reached 130 miles per hour (200 km/h) and will likely strengthen before it arrives, officials said . The space agency also released a bone-chilling video of Hurricane Florence recorded from orbit on September 12.

At the same time, outside experts have warned for more than a year that Russian efforts to manipulate USA voters through misleading social media postings are likely to have grown more sophisticated and harder to detect.


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