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United States Will Sanction Russian Intelligence In Response To Hackings, But Trump Could Reverse That

In response to the recent hackings of the Democratic National Committee and others during this past election, the Obama Administration has decided to punish those whom it believes are responsible. On Thursday, it was announced that the United States will sanction Russian intelligence and eject 35 operatives from U.S. soil in response to the hackings, and that officials would present unequivocal evidence tying the Russian government to the wave of cyber attacks. These measures, however, might not be so permanent; President-elect Donald Trump would have the power to reverse these decisions when he takes office in January. Romper has reached out to the Trump transition team but has not heard back at this time.

The aforementioned 35 operatives, who must leave the country within 72 hours, will be considered personae non gratae for their behavior, specifically for their acting in a "manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status." President Obama also announced that "Russians will no longer have access to two Russian government-owned compounds in the United States, in Maryland and in New York," reports The Chicago Tribune. In a statement, Obama informed:

These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government. Moreover, our diplomats have experienced an unacceptable level of harassment in Moscow by Russian security services and police over the last year.

Obama also noted "These actions are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities. We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized."

Trump has downplayed hacking claims against the Russian government constantly, telling reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Wednesday that "the whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what's going on." Claiming that he hasn't yet discussed the issue with any senators, Russian hacking doesn't appear to top Trump's list of concerns, even as officials on both sides of the aisle implore him to look further into things. "There are 100 United States senators. ... I would say that 99 of us believe the Russians did this and we're going to do something about it," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN. "Today it's Democrats, tomorrow it could be Republicans with the Iranians and the Chinese," Graham warned.

If his recent comments are any indication, Trump's approach to Russian hacking will differ drastically from Obama's. These recent Russian sanctions have been regarded as a preventative move from the current administration, as a way to ensure that some punishment will be doled out to Russia before Trump takes office.