Trump: Web Magnifies Threat of Election Meddling

(Image credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Trump has renewed his executive order declaring a national emergency "with respect to the threat of foreign interference in or undermining public confidence in United States elections," saying the Internet has magnified that threat.

The original executive order was issued Sept. 12, 2018.

In the renewal, issued Thursday (Sept. 10), the President suggested that such interference had no affect on the outcome of his election, though the jury is still out on that topic given that it is hard to establish what impact the Russian disinformation campaign meant to favor his candidacy had on a race Trump won by a less than a hundred thousand votes spread over key swing states.

That renewal comes as reports continue that Russia is again trying to meddle in the election in favor of President Trump.

"Although there has been no evidence of a foreign power altering the outcomes or vote tabulation in any United States election, foreign powers have historically sought to exploit America's free and open political system," the President wrote in renewing the order. "In recent years, the proliferation of digital devices and internet-based communications has created significant vulnerabilities and magnified the scope and intensity of the threat of foreign interference."

The order clearly acknowledges the threat to U.S. elections is a clear and present danger: "The ability of persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States to interfere in or undermine public confidence in United States elections, including through the unauthorized accessing of election and campaign infrastructure or the covert distribution of propaganda and disinformation, continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," Trump's renewal statement acknowledges.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.