Trump Executive Order on Election Interference

Over the past few years, concerns about election interference have become a major topic of discussion in the United States. Following the 2016 presidential election, allegations of foreign interference raised serious questions about the integrity of the democratic process. In response to these concerns, former President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at preventing foreign interference in US elections. This blog post will explore the details of this executive order and its potential implications.

The Background

Before delving into the specifics of the executive order, it’s important to understand the context in which it was issued. The 2016 presidential election saw Russian interference through hacking and the dissemination of misinformation. The intelligence community concluded that Russia had attempted to influence the outcome of the election in favor of then-candidate Trump.

In light of these revelations, there was growing concern among lawmakers and the general public about the potential for future interference. Amidst this backdrop, President Trump signed the executive order on September 12, 2018, which was titled “Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election.”

Key Provisions of the Executive Order

The executive order consists of several key provisions aimed at combating election interference. Here are some of the most notable aspects:

  1. Identification and Reporting: The order directs the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to conduct assessments of potential foreign interference in each US election. The DNI must then provide that information to appropriate federal agencies and the Department of Justice.
  2. Sanctions on Foreign Entities: The executive order authorizes the imposition of sanctions on foreign governments, individuals, or entities that are determined to have engaged in election interference. These sanctions can include freezing assets, travel bans, and restrictions on business dealings with US entities.
  3. Enhanced Investigation and Prosecution: The order directs the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a plan for investigating and prosecuting individuals or entities involved in foreign interference.
  4. Coordinating Efforts: The order establishes an interagency process to coordinate actions against foreign interference. This includes the creation of a task force led by the Attorney General to improve information sharing among relevant agencies.
  5. Public Awareness: The executive order emphasizes the importance of public awareness and education regarding election interference. It calls for the development of a framework to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.

These provisions reflect the administration’s commitment to addressing the issue of foreign interference head-on and implementing measures to safeguard the integrity of US elections.

Critics’ Concerns

While the executive order received support from many who were concerned about foreign interference, it also faced criticism from several quarters. Some critics argued that the order did not go far enough in addressing the issue or providing specific guidelines for enforcement.

Additionally, concerns were raised about potential politicization of the process. Critics worried that the order could be used to target individuals or entities based on political affiliations, thus undermining its intended purpose of countering foreign interference. They called for greater transparency and safeguards to prevent abuse of the powers granted by the order.

Impact and Future Implications

The true impact of the executive order on election interference remains to be seen. It is clear, however, that the order underscores the seriousness of the issue and seeks to deter future foreign interference through the threat of sanctions and enhanced coordination among relevant agencies.

Moreover, the signing of the executive order sent a strong message to both domestic and foreign actors that the United States is committed to protecting the integrity of its elections. It served as a recognition that election interference poses a significant threat to the democratic process and must be addressed proactively.

As the United States continues to grapple with the challenges of foreign interference, it is likely that future administrations will build upon the framework established by this executive order. Lessons learned and evolving technologies will shape the strategies employed to safeguard elections in the years to come.


The Trump executive order on election interference represents a significant step in combatting foreign meddling in US elections. By establishing a framework for identifying, reporting, and sanctioning those involved in interference, the order seeks to protect the integrity of the democratic process. While it faced criticism for its scope and potential for abuse, it remains an important tool in deterring foreign interference and ensuring the sanctity of US elections.

Election interference is a complex issue that requires ongoing vigilance and collaboration among various stakeholders. As technology continues to evolve, so too must the strategies employed to safeguard democratic processes. The executive order represents a starting point in this ongoing battle, and its long-term impact will be determined by the collective efforts of lawmakers, intelligence agencies, and the American people.

For additional information and updates on the issue of election interference, please refer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s official website.

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