Trump authorizes sanctions against foreigners who meddle in USA elections

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. "The President has said repeatedly he is determined there not be foreign interference (in U.S. elections)".

Russian Federation has denied these accusations.

The threatened sanctions are notable because they aim not just at foreign companies and individuals seeking to disrupt USA electoral infrastructure - electoral databases, vote tabulation processes and the like - but also of propaganda campaigns and leaks of sensitive political information. It also lays out how the Treasury and State departments will recommend what sanctions to impose.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said the directive was in response to alleged Kremlin interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Under the order, the intelligence community would have 45 days to determine whether meddling occurred. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., are pushing a bill that would prohibit foreign governments from purchasing election ads, using social media to spread false information or disrupting election infrastructure.

Sanctions authorized in the executive order include blocking of assets, transfer of property, U.S. investment in sanctioned companies, and restriction of travel.

Lawmakers and independent analysts say that federal and state action has already made US voting systems more secure against foreign hackers.

But critics said that Trump's move is not tough enough, and leaves him too much discretion, after the broad assault on the United States electoral process by Moscow two years ago. Trump stunned the world by accepting Putin's denials over the word of his own intelligence agencies.

In his announcement, indeed, Trump again rejected the idea that his 2016 victory was aided by foreign interference. Trump did not directly answer the question.

Most American intelligence agencies have determined Russian Federation sought to influence the 2016 presidential contest in Trump's favor, and top officials have warned foreign actors continue to work toward affecting the outcomes of future United States contests.

Coats warned last month that Russian efforts to undermine US elections continue. Trump dismisses the investigations as a political witch hunt. "So I think this order is a further demonstration of that", he added. Sir, this is not about politics, it's not about parties.

In his first public comments since he retired in June, Rogers said: "That should concern us as citizens".

At the same time, outside experts have warned for more than a year that Russian efforts to manipulate USA voters through misleading social media postings are likely to have grown more sophisticated and harder to detect. "We have a process in place to ensure that and retaliate if necessary".

Rogers, who spoke Tuesday night at the Hayden Center at George Mason University in Virginia, also said earlier media reports claiming Trump had asked him to publicly deny any collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign were inaccurate.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the intelligence community have seen "signs" of interference from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, but nothing to the level of the 2016 election.

"The Russians are still at it".