Dick Cheney: Russia's interference in US presidential election 'an act of war'

Former US Vice President says there is 'no question' Vladimir Putin tried to influence poll outcome

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The Independent US

Russia’s alleged interference in last year’s US presidential election could be considered “an act of war”, according to former US Vice President Dick Cheney.

Mr Cheney, who was George W Bush’s deputy between 2001 and 2009, said there was “no question” that Vladimir Putin had attempted to influence the election outcome. 

“There’s no question there was a very serious effort made by Putin and his government, his organisation, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes,” Mr Cheney said during a speech at a business conference in New Delhi, India. 

“In some quarters, that would be considered an act of war. I think it’s a kind of conduct and activity we will see going forward. We know he’s attempted it previously in other states in the Baltics. 

"I would not underestimate the weight that we, as Americans, assign to the Russian attempts to interfere with our internal political processes," he added.

US intelligence agencies have claimed Moscow was responsible for several hacks on computers belonging to the Democratic Party and senior members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign team – the contents of which were later released by Wikileaks. 

A number of congressional committees are carrying out investigations into the allegations, and last week James Comey, the Director of the FBI, announced his organisation had also launched an inquiry. 

Russia has consistently denied having any involvement in the election and says it was not behind the hacks. 

During his speech, Mr Cheney also accused Mr Putin of trying to destabilise the Nato military alliance of Western countries. 

"He is doing everything he can to find ways to undermine Nato,” he said.