To strengthen election security the U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order today by slapping sanctions on foreign countries or people who try to interfere in the U.S. political process.
“Too little, too late.” Criticized the lawmakers, both Republican and Democratic, explaining, “The executive order, which would give the president decision-making power on imposing sanctions, was insufficient.”
“Today’s announcement by the administration recognizes the threat, but does not go far enough to address it,” said Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen in a joint statement, advocating legislation.
Only eight weeks before congressional elections on Nov. 6, Trump signed the order behind closed doors with no reporters present.
“As I have made clear, the United States will not tolerate any form of foreign meddling in our elections,” Trump said in a statement.
Sanctions could include freezing assets, restricting foreign exchange transactions, limiting access to U.S. financial institutions, and prohibiting U.S. citizens from investing in companies involved, national security adviser John Bolton told reporters.
“Sanctions could be imposed during or after an election, based on the evidence gathered.” Bolton added.
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that entities backed by the Kremlin sought to boost Republican Trump’s chances of winning the White House in the 2016 election against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. But Trump in July publicly accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials at a joint press conference after they met for a summit in Helsinki.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller and congressional panels are investigating Russian interference, which Moscow denies. Mueller is also looking into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Trump dismisses the investigations as a political witch hunt.
Reported by Jeff Mason, Steve Holland
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