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President Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats over US election hacking


President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats  and suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking U.S. political groups in the 2016 presidential election.

The measures, taken during the last days of Obama's presidency, mark a new post-Cold War low in U.S.-Russian ties and set up a potential flashpoint between incoming President-elect Donald Trump and fellow Republicans in Congress over how to deal with Moscow.


Obama, a Democrat, had promised consequences after U.S. intelligence officials blamed Russia for hacks intended to influence the 2016 election. Officials pointed the finger directly at Russian President Vladimir Putin for personally directing the efforts and primarily targeting Democrats, who put pressure on Obama to respond.

It was not clear whether Trump, who has repeatedly praised Putin and nominated people seen as friendly toward Moscow to senior administration posts, would seek to roll back the measures once he takes office on Jan. 20.

Trump has brushed aside allegations from the CIA and other intelligence agencies that Russia was behind the cyber attacks. He said on Thursday he would meet with intelligence officials soon.

Reuters

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