Barack Obama vows to take action against alleged Russian hacking of US presidential election

‘We need to take action and we will at a time and place of our choosing’

Rachael Revesz
New York
Friday 16 December 2016 03:13 GMT
President Obama vows to take action against alleged Russian hacking of election

President Barack Obama has vowed to take action against Russia for its apparent interference in the US presidential election.

“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action and we will at a time and place of our own choosing,” Mr Obama told National Public Radio.

He confirmed he had spoken to Russian president Vladimir Putin about the hacking, and said his counterpart was aware that the US would seek retaliatory action, some of it “explicit and publicised; some of it may not be”.

“Mr Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it,” Mr Obama said.

Mr Obama last spoke directly with Mr Putin at the G20 meeting in China.

The month after, the White House named Russia as the prime suspect for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee emails over the summer.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest declined to say on Thursday whether the US had begun retaliatory measures.

He only said the President had deemed “a proportional response was appropriate” following CIA information that Russia had aimed to help Donald Trump win the election.

President Obama on allegations of Russian hacking and interference in the US election

The Kremlin has flatly denied any interference in the election, and neither intelligence agencies in the US nor the White House have publicly shared concrete evidence of Russian manipulation.

Mr Trump called the claims “ridiculous” and questioned why the White House had only taken action after he had won the election.

White House suggests Trump benefited from Russia hacking

Mr Earnest also said on Thursday it was “obvious” that the Russians acted to help the Republican win, and Mr Trump was “obviously aware” of their help.

Mr Trump lashed out at Mr Earnest during his “thank you” tour in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Thursday evening, saying the press secretary always managed to turn a positive message into a negative one. He did not mention Russia directly.

“He [Earnest] could say, ‘ladies and gentleman we have totally defeated Isis’ and it wouldn’t sound good, alright?” Mr Trump said.

Two Republican senators, Lindsey Graham and John McCain, have called for a bipartisan inquiry into Russia’s involvement.

“It could be us next,” said Mr Graham, referring to the fact that Russia could turn against the Republican party next time.

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