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

He has appeared to take Russian President Vladimir Putin's word that Russia did not interfere on his behalf in the election, most recently when he and the Russian leader met for a widely criticized summit in Helsinki, in July.

Bolton says the executive order will work to stem disinformation campaigns or any attempt to manipulate the outcome of ballots.

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. "We have several that we are tracking", he explained, "and have seen signs, from not just Russian Federation, but China, Iran, and North Korea".

"We felt it was important to demonstrate the president has taken command of this issue, that it's something that he cares deeply about", national security adviser John Bolton said on a call with reporters.

Trump has come under fire from both Democrats and Republicans, who accuse the president of taking a weak stance on accusations of Russian interference. The order gives the administration broad authority to the government to sanction any foreign entity suspected of interfering in US elections. "The President has said repeatedly he is determined there not be foreign interference (in USA elections)".

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

If DOJ and DHS officials concurred with the director of national intelligence's report, sanctions would "automatically" be leveled against those determined to be behind the interference; the State Department and Department of the Treasury would then review the sanctions and determine whether they were sufficient and appropriate to the severity of the activity.

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The White House looks set to toughen up against foreign meddling in USA elections.

Bolton said Wednesday that the White House is open to ideas and proposals from lawmakers, but said new legislation might be slow in coming.

The executive order applies to anyone who authorizes, directs or sponsors such meddling. The information would be provided to the Justice and Homeland Security departments, and then based on their assessment of the validity and impact, trigger automatic sanctions, USA director of national intelligence Dan Coats said.

Lawmakers and independent analysts say that federal and state action has already made US voting systems more secure against foreign hackers.

"An executive order that inevitably leaves the president broad discretion to decide whether to impose tough sanctions against those who attack our democracy is insufficient", Democratic senator Mark Warner said Wednesday. But these sanctions have apparently not deterred the Russian government and other countries with an adversarial relationship with the U.S. from maneuvering to affect the outcome of some 2018 congressional races, according to Coates.

Trump signed the bill into law only after Congress passed it with huge majorities.

The sanctions themselves range from blocked assets, export licenses, access to banking and lending, credit transfers, or US investors, according to Bolton.

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