Courtesy of the AP:
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday authorizing sanctions against foreigners who meddle in U.S. elections, a move that counters critics who claim he has not taken election security seriously enough.
The executive order covers not just interference with campaign infrastructure, but it also covers the distribution of disinformation and propaganda, national security adviser John Bolton told reporters. The order requires the Office of the National Intelligence Director to conduct regular assessments about potential foreign interference in the elections, asks for reports by the Homeland Security and Justice departments in the case of meddling in campaign-related infrastructure, he said. It also describes a process for the Treasury and State departments to recommend appropriate, automatic sanctions.
“We felt it was important to demonstrate the president has taken command of this issue, that it’s something he cares deeply about — that the integrity of our elections and our constitutional process are a high priority to him,” Bolton said.
Now if you think this is a sign that Putin no longer has a hold over Trump and that now he will start working to protect the election process, hold that thought.
Courtesy of WaPo:
President Trump issued a new order Wednesday authorizing additional sanctions against countries or individuals for interfering in upcoming U.S. elections, but lawmakers of both parties immediately said the effort does not go far enough.
The order would allow Trump to sanction foreigners who interfere in the midterm elections to be held in less than two months. It covers overt efforts to meddle in election infrastructure, such as vote counts, as well as “propaganda” and other attempts to influence voting from abroad, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats told reporters.
The harshest sanctions outlined in the order would be up to the president’s discretion.
As The Washington Post first reported in August, the order appears to be an effort to stave off bipartisan legislation that would mandate tough federal action.
National security adviser John Bolton said criticism that Trump had been too deferential to Russia or blinkered in his view of Russian election interference played “zero” role in the new action.
Jesus, is that an overpowering smell of bullshit or what?
And just in case you think I am being a partisan asshole who just automatically rejects the idea that Trump will do the right thing and sanction Russia for their future interference, let me remind you that he is still refusing to implement the sanctions that Congress already agreed to.
This is from an article from The Hill back in May:
A trio of key Democratic senators is calling on agency watchdogs to investigate why the Trump administration has not fully implemented mandated sanctions on Russia.
The lawmakers sent a letter Friday asking the inspectors general of the State Department, Treasury Department and the intelligence community to examine the administration’s failure to impose the financial penalties on Russia.
The reason provided by the administration for not implementing the sanctions is that they felt Russia had been punished enough and did not require any further deterrents.
Which is interesting since Russia is now the identified suspect behind those mysteries “neuroweapon” attacks in Cuba.
Courtesy of NBC News:
Intelligence agencies investigating mysterious “attacks” that led to brain injuries in U.S. personnel in Cuba and China consider Russia to be the main suspect, three U.S. officials and two others briefed on the investigation tell NBC News.
The suspicion that Russia is likely behind the alleged attacks is backed up by evidence from communications intercepts, known in the spy world as signals intelligence, amassed during a lengthy and ongoing investigation involving the FBI, the CIA and other U.S. agencies. The officials declined to elaborate on the nature of the intelligence.
So yeah, this is all smoke and mirrors designed to protect Russia from sanctions and to give Trump and the Republicans cover going into the 2018 midterm elections.