President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order allowing sanctions on foreign companies, organizations or entities the government determines to have interfered in U.S. elections.
The executive order also requires any federal agency aware of election meddling to promptly report that data to the office of the director of national intelligence.
The order stipulates that several federal agencies will serve in the capacity of decision-makers in the determination of instances where interference has indeed occurred.
The measure orders the director of national intelligence to investigate whether election meddling took place and who was responsible.
After a 45-day review period, an assessment will be passed to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well as the Department of Homeland Security, which will have an additional 45 days to determine if punishments are warranted.
If they determine and find anything that reflects interference with our election, they will then report that and automatic sanctions will take place,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats explained during a conference call with reporters Wednesday.
According to the order, interference will be defined, at least in part, by attempts to hack U.S. election infrastructure or manipulate public opinion via online propaganda. The methodical leaking of sensitive political information will also qualify as interference.
National Security Adviser John Bolton also said the oversight bodies would “calibrate what sanctions will be, based on the interference.”
In order to avoid overlap with congressional legislation aimed at the same goal, the order does not require congressional input or feature specific directives aimed at lawmakers.