President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will impose sanctions against any entity, foreign or domestic, that engages in election interference during the November midterms, which are less than nine weeks away. According to a report from Fox News, President Trump declared this morning that efforts to meddle in U.S. elections are a “national emergency,” ramping up concerns of possible interference in upcoming elections.
The executive order not only addresses election interference with political campaign and voting infrastructure, but also “propaganda efforts.”
In July, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers after it was uncovered that agents has hacked into the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The illegal hacking was said to have released tens of thousands of pieces of communications in a sweeping effort by a Moscow to meddle in the election.
President Trump’s order will now require Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to conduct regular assessments about potential foreign interference in elections. When the reports are completed, the State Department and the Treasury Department would craft “appropriate sanctions” to impose on the revealed actors engaging in interference or countries that had a hand in meddling.
As stated in the report, “The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned.”
The White House hopes the order will help dispel the notion that the President has allowed election meddling to go unchallenged.
In a report from CNN, Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council, relayed to reporters following the development that “President Trump is committed to protecting our Nation’s elections from foreign interference and has made it clear that his administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from any nation state or other malicious actor.”