Obama vows retaliation against ‘Russian hacking’
‘We will take action at a time and place of our own choosing’
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is promising that the US will retaliate against Russia for its suspected meddling in America’s election process, an accusation the Kremlin has vehemently denied.
As the White House grew more bullish about suggesting President Vladimir Putin was personally involved, Obama said he’d spoken directly to Putin about his concerns about Russian meddling. He said whenever a foreign government tries to interfere in US elections, the nation must take action “and we will at a time and place of our own choosing.”
“We have been working hard to make sure that what we do is proportional, that what we do is meaningful,” Obama said in an NPR News interview airing yesterday.
Obama’s remarks were the clearest indication that whatever response the US is planning, it hasn’t happened yet. The White House has insisted for months that when the US did retaliate, it might not be made public, a position that has created uncertainty about the strength and timing of any response.
Obama was expected to face questions about the hacking and his response during a news conference at the White House yesterday afternoon. White House officials said it was “fact” that Russian hacking helped Donald Trump’s campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday also assailed Trump himself over his refusal to acknowledge the hacking and his attacks on the US intelligence community.
The tough talk from the White House fell flat in Moscow, where Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the accusations baseless and inappropriate. “They should either stop talking about that, or produce some proof at last,” Peskov told reporters yesterday. “Otherwise it all begins to look unseemly.”