The order represents the latest in a series of Trump administration efforts to look tough on election security before voting in November that will decide whether Trump's Republican Party can keep its majorities in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.
And that's led some to suspect that the order is motivated less by the president's earnest opposition to foreign interference in American elections, than his desire to head off legislation that would have restricted his discretion on how such interference should be punished.
That this announcement came first as a leak to USA news outlets and then as an announcement from National Security Advisor John Bolton underlines how fraught a subject it is for this particular White House.
The United States is threatening automatic sanctions to deter Russian Federation and any other current or future adversary from interfering in the country's elections.
National Security Adviser John Bolton also said the oversight bodies would "calibrate what sanctions will be, based on the interference".
With the midterm elections now two months away, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said the U.S.is not currently seeing the intensity of Russian intervention that was experienced in 2016, but he didn't rule it out.
Trump was derided in July for not publicly confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin about the election interference during a summit in Helsinki.
The order, however, will apply beyond just Russian Federation to other foreign entities that are seeking to influence United States elections.
"I think it's going to be good", said Sean Kanuck, a former intelligence officer for cyber issues, now with the International Institute for Strategic Studies. "So if the White House doesn't like something for some reason or wants to drag its feet or there's not enough information from the available intelligence, the automatic nature of this might not be as automatic as the executive order suggests", he said.
Bolton had previously warned that there were signs of election meddling from China, North Korea, and Iran, though he offered no specific evidence. He said the U.S. is also anxious about the cyber activities of China, North Korea and Iran. We are taking nothing for granted here.
Fox News political commentator Marie Harf and X Strategies Communication Vice President Madison Gesiotto discuss the strength of the USA economy and how it will affect the midterm elections.
"It's more than Russian Federation here that we are looking at", National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told reporters on a conference call, specifying that United States intelligence agencies are concerned about the ability of Iran, North Korea and China to interfere in the election, and threatening an "automatic response to that".
Bolton said under the order, the intelligence community would have 45 days to determine whether there was meddling in the election.
If there is a consensus that a foreign country or other entity tried to meddle in the election, automatic sanctions would be triggered, Coats said.