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Trump signs executive order imposing sanctions on foreign election meddlers

The Independent logo The Independent 12/09/2018 Chris Riotta
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Donald Trump has signed a sweeping executive order imposing sanctions on any nation or individual who authorises, directs or sponsors meddling operations in US elections.

The order does not directly mention Russia or its influence operations in the 2016 election, though it would effectively punish any culprits involved in US intelligence community findings regarding the controversy.

The move arrived after the president has received criticism over his handling of Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, which the US intelligence community confirmed took place last year.

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Russia is believed to be continuing its influence and meddling operations in upcoming US elections, as Congress has sought to impose further punishments and sanctions against the Kremlin. 

President Donald Trump speaks during a Congressional Medal of Honor Society Reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) © AP President Donald Trump speaks during a Congressional Medal of Honor Society Reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

How the executive order impacts Russia and other countries notorious for election meddling will depend largely on how its implemented by the White House, according to CBS News. The order was first reported by Reuters.

National Security Adviser John Bolton and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told reporters Wednesday that the executive order was evidence the president has made election security a priority.

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

"This is intended to be a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation of the political process,” he said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Mr Coats said the US is not currently seeing the intensity of Russian intervention that was experienced in 2016, but didn't rule it out. He said the U.S. was also worried about the cyber activities of China, North Korea and Iran.

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"We have seen signs of (meddling) not just Russia, but from China ... from Iran and even North Korea," he said. "We're taking nothing for granted here."

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