The Obama administration is finalizing plans to punish Russia for interfering with the recent U.S. election with an announcement could come as soon as Thursday,
A senior administration official tells CBS news they will likely name individuals associated with Moscow’s efforts to hack Democratic organizations in the run-up to the presidential election.
Officials have said sanctions would likely target leaders in Russia’s largest intelligence agency - which they believe was behind the cyberattacks aimed at helping President-elect Donald Trump -- and operating with President Vladimir Putin’s blessing.
“At a point in time where we’ve taken certain actions that we can divulge publicly, we will do so,” Mr. Obama said.
The announcement would come after months of White House deliberations about how best to respond without devolving into a full-scale cyber war.
“How we approach an appropriate response that increases costs for them for behavior like this in the future, but does not create problems for us, is something that’s worth taking the time to think through and figure out,” Mr. Obama said.
The White House is also seeking measures the incoming administration can’t reverse as President-elect Trump refuses to acknowledge Russia’s role in the cyberattacks.
“It is now time for Russia to understand - enough is enough,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.
But whether the punishments originate from the administration or Congress, Graham said nearly the entire Senate agrees on additional sanctions to hold the Kremlin accountable.
“You can expect that the Congress will investigate the Russian involvement in our elections, and I predict there will be bipartisan sanctions coming that will hit Russia hard, particularly Putin as an individual,” Graham said.
Russia said on Wednesday that new sanctions would be a “provocation directed by the White House” and warned it would retaliate. A foreign ministry spokeswoman said they are “tired of the lie” that Russia is responsible, which is being “poured down in the United States from the very top.”