In what is being considered an unprecedented move by the White House, President Barack Obama has imposed strict sanctions on Russia in response to alleged tampering with the 2016 US election. According to both the FBI and CIA, there is insurmountable evidence that a number of Russian hackers aimed to aid Donald Trump’s chances of victory by dishing out dirt on the Democratic National Committee.
In response, President Obama has sanctioned four individuals and five entities from Russia, ordered 35 Russian diplomats leave the country, and closed two Russian compounds on US soil. This is the first time that the names of the Russian officials involved in the hacking have been made public. The Obama administration has condemned the Russian attempts at meddling in United States domestic politics, describing them as “Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.”
"Russia's cyberactivities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in US democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the US government," a White House statement said. "These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
This is a brazen move from President Obama, who is just weeks from leaving the White House keys with Donald Trump. The President-Elect has continued to downplay the hacking allegations, stating that “we oughta get on with our lives," followed by a questionable comment about how computers “have complicated lives very greatly.”
In response to sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he would not retaliate by kicking US diplomats out of the country. Instead, he will wait for Trump to take office to restore the relationship between the two nations. Some have suggested that the move by Obama is a cunning attempt to cause trouble for the President-Elect.
These restrictions may either cause Trump to controversially lift the sanctions, strengthening his alleged cozy ties with Russia, or renege on his campaign promise to improve relations with Putin. Considering the recent nomination of a Secretary of State with potentialy vested interests in Russia’s state-owned oil companies, the President-Elect will be faced with a tough decision following his inauguration.