President Donald Trump yesterday issued an executive order that sets forth a federal plan of action in the event of foreign interference in a U.S. election, including sanctions that can be imposed on overseas organizations and individuals.
The declaration is arguably a response to wide-ranging criticism that the president has repeatedly dismissed evidence of Russian influence in the 2016 elections and failed to act sufficiently in light of threats to future elections.
The order tasks the Director of National Intelligence with assessing intelligence that suggests a foreign actor has attempted to influence an election result, whether by altering vote counts, targeting election infrastructure or spreading disinformation. The Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security would then review this assessment and issue their own reports.
In response to these evaluations, the Treasury Secretary could then impose sanctions on the offenders, the order continues. He and the Secretary of State can also recommend to the president whether additional sanctions are warranted, including punitive measures against "the largest business entities licensed or domiciled in a country whose government authorized, directed, sponsored or supported election interference, including at least one entity from... financial services, defense energy, technology and transportation..."
Sanctions could include the blocking of financial transactions, export license restrictions, prohibitions on loans from U.S. financial institutions, the expulsion of corporate offices located in the U.S. and more.