The sanctions authority would be the latest effort by the Trump administration to address to concerns raised by USA intelligence agencies that Russian Federation is seeking to interfere in the 2018 US elections after doing so two years ago.
"We felt it was important to demonstrate the president had taken command of this issue". Trump dismisses the investigations as a political witch hunt. The order described by a USA official familiar with its drafting as "another tool in the tool kit" to deter election interference by foreign adversaries, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The announcement on Wednesday surprised some officials on Capitol Hill, who noted that no drafts of the order had been discussed with Congress prior to the signing.
Coats says the U.S.is not now seeing the intensity of Russian intervention that was experienced in 2016, but didn't rule it out. "And DHS [will] seek sanctions against them".
Potential sanctions could include a block on financial transactions, export license restrictions, restrictions on access to American financial institutions and investments, and restrictions on entry to the US.
A key State Department official praised the executive order as a good start.
While not strictly specified, the order more than likely targets Russian Federation.
"We're taking nothing for granted here", Mr Coats said. "The way we have been doing it [until now] is fingernail-pulling".
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The two authors of that Senate bill applauded the White House for signing the order, but said in a joint statement it "does not go far enough". I will say this. "I doubt it will completely change the incentive-cost-benefit analysis of the other side". Russian President Vladimir Putin stood alongside Trump in Finland in July and admitted he and his government wanted Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton.
"Words, and those words in Helsinki, probably speak louder than executive action", she said. The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned.
The sanctions would block United States financial activities by those implicated in the election interference and those individuals would be prohibited from entering this country.
But Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Republican Richard Burr expressed hope the new executive order will "send a clear message" to Russia, Iran and others.
The order will allow the Director of National Intelligence to identify foreign meddlers and direct the Treasury Department to apply sanctions.
Though Trump has raised eyebrows with his friendly posture toward Moscow, his administration has often signaled a harder line against Russian Federation - a "two-track" approach, as an anonymous administration official described it in an explosive New York Times op-ed on September 5. But he said the order will apply not just to Russian Federation but to others possible bad actors, including China, North Korea, and Iran.
It requires the national intelligence director to make regular assessments about foreign interference and asks the Homeland Security and Justice departments to submit reports on meddling in campaign-related infrastructure. "This is an ongoing effort here, and it has been for a significant amount of time, and will continue on a, literally, 24-hour-a-day basis until the election".