The executive order addresses not only interference with campaign and election infrastructure, but also propaganda efforts.
"This is meant to be a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation of the political process", he said on Wednesday.
Sanction targets could include individual people or entire companies accused of interfering in US elections by cyber attacks or other means, a USA official told Reuters.
"I think his actions speak for themselves", Bolton said. Special Counsel Robert Mueller and congressional panels are investigating Russian interference, which Moscow denies.
It also comes as the White House is trying to take a tougher line against Moscow after Trump publicly accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials of his country's involvement in any interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, contrary to the findings of the USA intelligence community.
That this announcement came first as a leak to U.S. 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.
"President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today".
The lawmakers said Trump's executive order does not change the need for legislation.
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"We felt it was important to demonstrate the president had taken command of this issue, White House National Security Advisor John Bolton said Wednesday".
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Bolton said the order is not focused on any particular country, because threats to elections come from many different countries and entities.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Sen.
A wide variety of additional sanctions could be imposed under certain conditions.
"It is imperative that America remains united in punishing potential election meddlers and bad actors and that Republicans and Democrats work together to protect the integrity of our elections", he said.
The order will allow the Director of National Intelligence to identify foreign meddlers and direct the Treasury Department to apply sanctions.
"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", said Sen Mark Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate investigation into Russian Federation.
With under two months until the first national U.S. elections since 2016, the Trump administration is outlining how it would respond to the kind of election meddling senior intelligence officials say could be coming.
USA lawmakers have introduced various pieces of Russia-related legislation, including the "Deter Act", to set out punishments for election meddling, and what one lawmaker called a sanctions bill "from hell" to punish Moscow for cyber crime and its activities in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.
"If we are going to actually deter Russian Federation and others from interfering in our elections in the future, we need to spell out strong, clear consequences, without ambiguity", Mr. Warner said.
He described the White House response as broad, including assessments by intelligence, law enforcement and diplomatic arms of the government.