Washington: US President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Sunday questioned the severity of President Barack Obama’s response to Russia’s alleged election hacking.
“I think one of the questions that we have is: Why the magnitude of this?” Spicer said in an interview with American Broadcasting Company, referring to sanctions announced by Obama on Thursday against Russia over alleged hacking during the 2016 US presidential election.
“I mean you look at 35 people being expelled, two sites being closed down, the question is: Is that response in proportion to the actions taken? Maybe it was; maybe it wasn’t, but you have to think about that,” Xinhua news agency quoted Spicer as saying.
Nine Russian entities and individuals, including two Russian intelligence services, were sanctioned for their alleged interference in the US election and 35 Russian officials were expelled from the United States.
Trump had downplayed the escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow over alleged Russian hacking activities targeting the United States.
“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” he said in a statement on Thursday, adding he will meet with US intelligence agencies next week to gather facts about the situation.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters in Russia that Moscow regretted the new sanctions and the measures signalled Obama’s “unpredictable” and “aggressive foreign policy”.
However, Putin said on Friday that Russia will not expel anyone despite Washington’s latest sanctions, according to the Kremlin press service.