Obama Administration Expels Russian Officials, Warns Trump Not to Reverse Course

Casey Mills
December 31, 2016

But he said Russian Federation would not expel any USA diplomats in response, after Russia's foreign minister earlier indicated that Moscow could. In addition, two Russian diplomatic leisure compounds in NY and Maryland were closed.

Obama said in a statement that those actions were "not the sum total of our response" and that his administration would provide a report to Congress in the coming days related to Russia's "efforts to interfere in our election, as well as malicious cyber activity related to our election cycle in previous terms".

President Obama on Thursday announced sanctions against Russian intelligence services in response to their alleged interference in the US presidential election.

President Obama in a statement on Thursday announced a series of retaliatory measures against Russian Federation in response to its "malicious cyber activity" involving the US election and "aggressive harassment" of USA officials overseas.

Mr Trump, a professed admirer of Mr Putin, pledged during the election campaign to build better relations between the United States and Russian Federation that have fallen to a dismal low during Mr Obama's final term.

The sanctions came as the Obama administration made public a 13-page document produced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security outlining the government's charges of how Russian hackers penetrated US institutions in a bid to undermine the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

'All Americans should be alarmed by Russia's actions, ' President Obama said.

The FBI and the Central Intelligence Agency have concluded that Russian Federation intervened in the 2016 election in part to help Trump win the White House in his race against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

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Trump, however, has insisted repeatedly that he doesn't believe the Russians played any role in his unexpected victory. Putin's objective has been spelled out: He wants a Trump administration to restore good relations with the Kremlin. But instead of standing with the current USA president, Trump chose to use his platform to praise Putin, who is believed to have personally orchestrated multiple acts of cyber-warfare against the country Trump will soon lead. Trump said the US should move on, but in a sign he is no longer totally brushing off the allegations, he planned to meet with USA intelligence leaders next week to learn more.

The sanctions cover nine individuals and organizations in Russian Federation, and will prevent four officials from Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, from from traveling to the US or keeping assets here.

The sanctions and measures announced on Thursday were seen as a move by the Obama administration to force Trump into a corner on improving ties with Russian Federation, a key foreign policy objective, reversing the downward spiral of recent years.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went on state TV and said called the sanctions "antics" which Russia can't leave unanswered.

Mr Obama also said the alleged hacking "could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government". "They should do the best they can, figure it all out", he said.

"It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner", said Putin.

Three companies were also singled out in the announcement of the sanctions: the Special Technologies Center, Zor Security, and a group called the "Autonomous Non-commercial Organization Professional Association of Designers of Data Processing Systems" that reportedly provided training to hackers. "I think it's some sort of misunderstanding between our nations".

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