President Trump is expected to sign an executive order as soon as Wednesday that would authorize sanctions against foreigners who attempt to interfere in American elections, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The outgoing administration of Barack Obama hit Moscow with sanctions and expelled a large number of alleged Russian spies in retaliation for the interference. U.S. intelligence agencies now believe that Russian Federation would again try to interfere the mid-term polls this year and also the 2020 presidential elections.
Based on a recent draft of the order reviewed by the USA official, it will require any federal agency aware of election interference by foreigners to take the information to the office of Director of National Intelligence.
'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. So the others, do incorporate - it's more than Russian Federation here that we're looking at'. The order requires the Office of the National Intelligence Director to conduct regular assessments about potential foreign interference in the elections, asks for reports by the Homeland Security and Justice departments in the case of meddling in campaign-related infrastructure, he said. Bolton noted that the scope of the order included not just attacks on election infrastructure but also "the distribution of propaganda" meant to impact the electoral process.
With under two months until the first national U.S. elections since 2016, the Trump administration is outlining how it would respond to the kind of election meddling senior intelligence officials say could be coming. The 45-day period is based on when interference is believed to have happened and not specifically tied to Election Day.
The order sets up a 90-day time frame for assessing reports of any kind of interference by foreign individuals and companies, and then deciding on the appropriate sanctions, which include freezing assets, banning business dealings with Americans and locking the actors out of the USA financial system.
The order, which comes just weeks ahead of November's midterm elections, will direct USA intelligence agencies to investigate whether the election meddling took place. Sanctions authorized in the executive order include blocking of assets, transfer of property, U.S. investment in sanctioned companies, and restriction of travel.
While such powers already exist in the White House and US Treasury, Coats said the new order would set up an automatic and formal review, while giving Trump flexibility on what actions to take. A similar bill is moving forward in the House.