Won't tolerate any form of foreign meddling in elections: Trump
The United States will not tolerate any form of foreign interference in its elections, US President Donald Trump said yesterday after signing an executive order that initiates actions, including sanctions, against foreign entities who meddle or even attempt to interfere in US polls.
"Today, I took action to protect the integrity of the US electoral system," Trump said.
Here's more on what he said.
Trump says executive order ensures quick and forceful response
The executive order requires the intelligence community to assess the extent of any foreign interference after every US elections. If the US determines that any foreign meddling has occurred, the executive order reportedly ensures a quick, forceful, and proportionate response.
Order authorizes sanctions against country supporting interference: Trump
Trump emphasized that the executive order authorizes appropriate sanctions, some are full blocking sanctions, others are to be designed and calibrated in light of specific facts against any individual, foreign entity, or country that directs, sponsors, or otherwise supports foreign interference in US election.
It also directs the executive branch to develop a uniform process for assessing and determining foreign interference in US elections.
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Russia, China have capabilities to interfere in US elections: Coats
The executive order does not name any particular country. However, in a conference call, Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, identified Russia, China, Iran and North Korea having capabilities to do so.
"We have seen signs of not just Russia, but from China, of capabilities, potentially from Iran and even North Korea. It's more than Russia here that we're looking at," Coats asserted.
However, Democrats weren't satisfied with the executive order
However, Democrats weren't satisfied with the executive order. "New executive order certainly doesn't absolve the Senate from passing much-needed legislation and funding to beef up our election security and prevent future attacks on our democracy from foreign adversaries," said Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader.
"Order provides no resources to help states against future attacks"
The executive order also faced criticism from Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert Brady, Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Bennie Thompson, and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Elijah Cummings.
They said that the steps outlined in the executive order are "far too little, too late," and provide no resources to help states protect their elections against future attacks.
Trump should have responded swiftly, not issue weak order: Opposition
While the President apparently acknowledges that foreign actors will continue to attempt to interfere in our elections, he makes no mention of previous Russian attacks, they alleged, adding, Trump should have responded swiftly instead of issuing a weak executive order two years after these attacks.
Democrats to Trump: Show your sincerity towards protecting American democracy
"We need concrete actions that show the Trump Administration is sincere in wanting to protect American democracy from foreign interference," the Democrats said.
"That means providing states with the funds they need, and pressing Republicans in Congress to pass legislation like the Election Security Act that makes meaningful improvements to our election infrastructure," they added.