Staff Report

President Donald J. Trump yesterday signed an Executive Order that establishes a process to possibly impose sanctions on foreign entities that attempt to interfere in U.S. elections.

“In order to deter foreign interference in future elections, we must make it clear to Russia and other adversaries that interference is unacceptable, and will have painful consequences,” said U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the Senate Banking Committee. 

“Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply cannot be counted upon to stand up to Putin when it matters. While the Administration has yet to share the full text, an executive order that inevitably leaves the President broad discretion to decide whether to impose tough sanctions against those who attack our democracy is insufficient.

“If we are going to actually deter Russia and others from interfering in our elections in the future, we need to spell out strong, clear consequences, without ambiguity. We remain woefully underprepared to secure the upcoming elections, and an executive order is simply no substitute for congressional action, such as the strong measures included in the bipartisan DETER Act,” Warner said.

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced the bipartisan Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act earlier this year. Senator Warner is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Rubio and Van Hollen released a joint statement after President Trump signed the Executive Order:

“There is no question that protecting our elections from foreign interference is one of the most pressing issues facing our country today. Today’s announcement by the Administration recognizes the threat, but does not go far enough to address it. The United States can and must do more. Mandatory sanctions on anyone who attacks our electoral systems serve as the best deterrent, which is the central tenet of the bipartisan DETER Act. We must make sure Vladimir Putin’s Russia, or any other foreign actor, understands that we will respond decisively and impose punishing consequences against those who interfere in our democracy. With only 55 days until the midterm elections, we urge our colleagues to send a clear and unified message to our adversaries by quickly passing this legislation.”