No evidence that Russia influenced US election: Trump team
Washington, Jan 3 (IANS) The team of US President-elect Donald Trump has said there was no evidence to suggest that Russian hacking had influenced the 2016 US election.
“The way the mainstream media is playing this up is that they (Russia) had an influence in the election. There is zero evidence that they actually influenced the election,” Xinhua news agency quoted Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer as saying.
Spicer accused the Obama administration of “jumping to conclusions before we have a final report”, calling the behaviour “irresponsible”.
The Obama administration last October officially blamed Russia for hacking US political institutions and persons to interfere with the November 8 poll process, an accusation Moscow immediately dismissed as “nonsense”.
The episode reached its climax last December when the US daily Washington Post uncovered a secret Central Intelligence Agency assessment report in which it claimed that Russia’s meddling in the US election was aimed at helping Republican Trump win the White House.
According to the CIA, Russians were believed to have hacked both Republican and Democratic organisations, though only damaging documents from Democrats were leaked to the public.
Russia had for long repeatedly denied being behind the cyber attacks which led to the leaking of damaging material which dogged Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton till the election day.
Three weeks before leaving office, President Barack Obama on Thursday struck back at Russia over alleged election hacking, with nine entities and individuals, including two intelligence services, being slapped with sanctions for their alleged interference.
The US State Department on Thursday announced expulsion of 35 Russian government officials and diplomats, calling them “acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status”.
Two Russian government-owned compounds, one in Maryland and the other in New York, would also soon be shuttered, according to the State Department.