President Barack Obama gave orders for the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and has sanctioned the two leading Russian intelligence services after weeks of discussion surrounding their alleged interference in this year's Presidential race.According to Reuters:
The measures, taken during the last days of Obama's presidency, mark a new low in U.S.-Russian relations which have deteriorated over serious differences on Ukraine and Syria."These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior," Obama said in a statement from vacation in Hawaii.
Former officials and security experts claim that Obama's actions in the final days of his presidency are motivated by an effort to discourage further meddling from other foreign governments in U.S. Elections and other important political events.
The New York Times also reported:
In a sweeping set of announcements, the United States was also expected to release evidence linking the cyberattacks to computer systems used by Russian intelligence. Taken together, the actions would amount to the strongest American response ever taken to a state-sponsored cyberattack aimed at the United States.The sanctions were also intended to box in President-elect Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump has consistently cast doubt that the Russian government had anything to do with the hacking of the D.N.C. or other political institutions, saying American intelligence agencies could not be trusted and suggesting that the hacking could have been the work of a “400-pound guy” lying in his bed.
The odds of the President Elect lifting these sanctions are slim, as doing so would not offer him much political gain, and he would have to effectively reject the findings of all of our own intelligence offices. Meanwhile, with both Democrats and Republicans calling for further investigation into the use of cyber attacks to interfere in the election, the pressure from both sides to keep this issue under the microscope would be hard to shake.The move is also in response to the continued claims from the State Department about the alleged harrassment of U.S. diplomats in Russia. Those expelled have 72 hours to leave the United States.