Trump authorizes sanctions against foreigners who meddle in U.S. elections

Putin denies Russia interfered in US elections

The order, which will allow new sanctions against Russian or other foreign actors, was inked on Wednesday morning.

That this announcement came first as a leak to USA news outlets and then as an announcement from National Security Advisor John Bolton underlines how fraught a subject it is for this particular White House.

Amid serious backlash from both sides of the aisle, the Republican president later explained that he "misspoke" and said he had "great confidence" in U.S. intelligence.

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

"As I have made clear, the United States will not tolerate any form of foreign meddling in our elections", Trump said in a statement.

The executive order comes as bills in the House and Senate have gained support that would require sanctions against any government or person determined to have engaged in electoral interference.

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Interfering with election systems of pushing out propaganda and disinformation "constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States", he said.

Under the order, the intelligence community would have 45 days to determine whether meddling occurred.

Lawmakers said the executive order, which would give the president decision-making power on imposing sanctions, was insufficient.

Under the order, intelligence agencies, led by the director of national intelligence, would assess attacks and forward findings to the Justice and Homeland Security departments.

Trump has pushed back, saying that no other American president has been as tough on Russian Federation. That includes the November 6 midterm congressional elections.

"It's more than Russian Federation here that we're looking at", he said.

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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.

"Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply can not be counted upon to stand up to Putin when it matters", Warner said.

Lawmakers have accused the administration of shirking its responsibility to protect USA elections and have been preparing measures to force Trump's hand.

But, unlike a bipartisan bill now making its way through Congress, the order does not require Trump to issue stiff sanctions on such meddlers.

The administration has worked to appear tough on election meddling, despite Trump's wavering. Bolton noted that the scope of the order included not just attacks on election infrastructure but also "the distribution of propaganda" meant to impact the electoral process.

'Relative to anything that the president and I discuss in the Oval Office, or anywhere that is just something that I don't discuss on a public basis, ' Coats said when asked directly about it.

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Tonight, Shaw tweeted: "Thank you for all the love and support I am doing fine and am in the best hands. But Southgate added: "I'd rather focus on the fact he got his goal, which was really well taken".

"We felt it was important to show the president has taken command of this issue, that it is something he cares deeply about, that the integrity of our elections [and] our constitutional process are a top priority", said Mr. Bolton, who briefed reporters on the executive order.

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