White House preparing response to Russian election interference

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with his US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou on September 5, 2016.

ALEXEI DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration is preparing to announce its response to the alleged Russian interference in last month’s election. 

According to a senior administration official, the Obama administration could announce as early as tomorrow a series of retaliatory measures against Russia, which will likely include naming individuals associated with Moscow’s efforts to hack Democratic organizations in the run-up to the presidential election. Officials say sanctions will likely target Russian intelligence officials. 

A Washington Post report published late Tuesday said that details are still being finalized but are likely to include new economic sanctions.

President Obama has said that his administration would respond to Russian meddling in the U.S. election. 

“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections, that we need to take action and we will -- at a time and a place of our own choosing,” Mr. Obama told NPR’s Steve Inskeep earlier this month. “Some of it may be ... explicit and publicized. Some of it may not be.”

Intelligence officials believed Russia was involved in the hacking of Democratic servers last summer. Russia dismisses the charges.

A 2015 executive order, as intended, gives the president the authority to respond to foreign cyberattacks. However, officials concluded that the order did not give the president authority to respond to Russian meddling in American elections, prompting a last-ditch effort within the administration to expand the president’s authority on the matter.

According to the Post, officials are also trying to figure out ways to make it difficult for president-elect Trump, who has frequently spoken of improving relations with Russia, from diminishing any response from the Obama administration.

“Part of the goal here is to make sure that we have as much of the record public or communicated to Congress in a form that would be difficult to simply walk back,” the Post quotes a senior administration official as saying.

The announcement of the response could come as early as this week, the paper states. Officials quoted in the story say they hope to create a deterrent against future election meddling by other nations.

“As much as I am concerned about what happened to us in the election, I am also concerned about what will happen to us in the future,” the Post quotes an administration official as saying.

“I am firmly convinced that the Russians and others will say, ‘That worked pretty well in 2016, so let’s keep going.’ We have elections every two years in this country.”

CBS News’ Julianna Goldman and Margaret Brennan contributed reporting to this story