Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Ex-NSA chief wishes Trump had pressed Putin on Russian election attacks

Ex-NSA chief wishes Trump had pressed Putin on Russian election attacks

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to impose sanctions on individuals and entities that meddle in USA elections, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Adviser John Bolton announced in a conference call with reporters. The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned.

The sanctions authority would be the latest effort by the Trump administration to address to concerns raised by US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation is seeking to interfere in the 2018 USA elections after doing so two years ago. And after each election, the intelligence community will have 45 days to investigate whether there was an attempt at interference, followed by a Justice Department review.

It also comes as the White House is trying to take a tougher line against Moscow after Trump publicly accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials of his country's involvement in any interference in the 2016 USA presidential elections, contrary to the findings of the US intelligence community.

There is some frustration among lawmakers that Mr Trump's executive order could undercut congressional efforts to deter any election meddling in the United States by foreign powers, according to CBS News.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the intelligence community have seen "signs" of interference from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, but nothing to the level of the 2016 election.

"We're setting up a process or a mechanism where if we see something, we're going to say something", she said.

"It has been a touchy subject", one White House official said last month, when the Post reported on a draft of the executive order.

After the reports are complete, the Treasury and State Departments would decide on appropriate sanctions to impose on the potential actors or countries. The White House hopes the order will help dispel the notion that Trump has allowed election meddling to go unchallenged. I think Department of Energy has made a clear statement of what his function there is, ' he said when asked by DailyMail.com about the high-level visit, the first since Trump's Helsinki Summit.

"Today's announcement by the Administration recognizes the threat, but does not go far enough to address it", they argued.

"We must make sure Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation, or any other foreign actor, understands that we will respond decisively and impose punishing consequences against those who interfere in our democracy", they said. If the U.S. determines that any foreign meddling has occurred, the executive order ensures a quick, forceful, and proportionate response, he said.

In a statement the Democratic National Committee said Trump's order "does nothing to hold Russian Federation accountable" for 2016.

"The United States can and must do more", they said.

But, they added, "we must make sure Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation, or any other foreign actor, understands that we will respond decisively and impose punishing consequences against those who interfere in our democracy".

DNI Coats said the measure was being put in place as part of government efforts to report on any suspicious activity between now and November's elections and to do a full assessment after the election that would trigger sanctions if necessary.

The outgoing administration of Barack Obama hit Moscow with sanctions and expelled a large number of alleged Russian spies in retaliation.

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