According to reports, President Trump intends to sign an executive order later this week which will order sanctions on all foreign companies or individuals who are judged by the intelligence community to have interfered in the US midterm elections.
Indications are that this doesn’t actually include anybody as of yet. Rather, it is intended to be a preemptive announcement of the planned US retaliation for any cyberattacks or other interference in the November vote.
The order will empower the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, the NSA, and the Department of Homeland Security to make decisions on if election meddling happened.
“Interference” is going to be very broadly defined, including not just attacks on election infrastructure, but also things like attempts to sway public opinion or leaking political information which might have an effect on voters’ decisions.
Exactly how much evidence will be needed isn’t clear, which is likely to be a big problem with this new order. US officials have been eager to blame politically convenient targets for meddling in the past without concrete proof, and the intelligence community has historically seemed eager to sign off on those claims.