President-elect Donald Trump has responded to the Obama administration’s decision to implement new sanctions on Russia and expel 35 Russian officials from the US over alleged interference in the presidential election.
The president-elect released a statement Thursday evening, saying that the country needs to “move on to bigger and better things.”
“Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated about the facts of this situation,” Trump continued.
The statement reiterated Trump’s comments from Wednesday night, when he spoke to journalists about reports of the impending sanctions outside his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
“I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly,” he said. “The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind, the security we need.”
On Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama issued new sanctions against six Russians ‒ most of whom are high up in the Russian intelligence services ‒ and five entities that the US government has accused of hacking American institutions ahead of the election.
Russia has repeatedly denied any accusations that it interfered with the elections in any way.
Trump could reverse Obama’s executive order once he is sworn into office on January 20, but senior White House officials argued that Trump would risk looking like he had caved to Russian interests if he were to do so.
“If a future president decided he wanted to allow in a large tranche of Russian intelligence agents, presumably a future president could do that,” a senior administration official said on Thursday.”The officials who were sanctioned were participating in malicious cyberattacks on U.S. critical infrastructure and interfering in our democratic process. So, again, hypothetically you could reverse those sanctions, but it wouldn’t make a lot of sense.”
Along with implementing the new sanctions, Obama also expelled 35 Russian officials and closed Russian-owned compounds in New York and Maryland. The White House said that this was a retaliation for the harassment of US diplomats in Moscow. Although these accusations have no direct relation to hacking, the administration “looked at this as a package.”