By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — News reports say that President Donald Trump is planning a new executive order aimed at deterring foreign entities or individuals found to have interfered in U.S. elections.
Reuters and The Wall Street Journal said the order could come as early as September 12.
An unnamed U.S. official told Reuters that the sanctions would target individual people or entire companies accused of interfering in U.S. elections by hacking or other means.
The expected move is the latest from the Trump administration and follows conclusions by U.S. intelligence agencies documenting a cyber and propaganda campaign waged by Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election.
Military and law enforcement agencies have warned that the upcoming November 6 congressional elections could be at risk from foreign meddling, too.
It’s unclear whether Russia would be singled out in the new sanctions.
The New York Times said the order is broadly aimed at foreign interference but is intended to give U.S. authorities another tool to punish Russian entities who, U.S. agencies believe, may be trying to influence the upcoming elections, which will determine control of Congress.
The continued focus on Russia stands in further contrast to Trump’s past remarks downplaying the intelligence findings about Russian meddling, as well as congressional moves to impose stricter penalties against Russia and others.
New legislation currently making its way through Congress would impose even harsher punishment against Russia, including things like cutting Moscow off from sovereign debt markets.
Trump has also derided Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling.