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President Trump signed an executive order early Wednesday to deter meddling into USA election by foreign entities ahead of the 2018 mid-terms and the 2020 presidential election.

The former Director of the National Security Agency, retired Admiral Mike Rogers, said Tuesday that he thought President Donald Trump should have taken the opportunity to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly in Helsinki, Finland over Russia's election meddling.

Bolton said that the executive order, entitled "Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election", would "protect the USA against interference in our elections and the political process more broadly".

While Coates said that "we have not seen the intensity of activity from 2016", the intelligence community has seen signs that there are efforts underway by a number of actors to manipulate the political process this year.

It is understood that Russian Federation is not mentioned by name in the text, but U.S. officials named that country along with China, North Korea and Iran as most likely to try to sway United States elections.

"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.

Coats said Trump's order directs intelligence agencies to conduct an assessment within 45 days after an election to report any meddling to the attorney general and Department of Homeland Security.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and congressional panels are investigating Russian interference, which Moscow denies.

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The order gives the executive branch the discretion to impose sanctions for election meddling, but the bill would spell out sanctions on key economic sectors of a country that interferes.

Trump has also said he accepts the strong consensus view of US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation did interfere, including through propaganda and falsehoods spread on social media. It also lays out how the Treasury and State departments will recommend what sanctions to impose.

The order was described by a USA official familiar with its drafting as "another tool in the tool kit" to deter election interference by foreign adversaries.

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

Sanctions authorized in the executive order include blocking of assets, transfer of property, U.S. investment in sanctioned companies, and restriction of travel.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said this will be a 24-hour-a-day effort until election day.

Lawmakers and independent analysts say that federal and state action has already made USA voting systems more secure against foreign hackers. The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned. "And if we don't do something, they (the Russians) are not going to stop".

Trump signed the bill into law only after Congress passed it with huge majorities. He has cited USA sanctions and the expulsion of alleged Russian spies from the U.S.


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