The Obama administration is preparing to announce a series of sanctions against Russia after the country attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election in favor of President-elect Donald Trump, the Washington Post reports.
Such measures include economic sanctions and a diplomatic censure, according to U.S. officials who spoke with the Post anonymously. The White House is also discussing the use of covert actions "that will probably involve cyber-operations." The administration is presently finalizing the details of its proposed measures against Russia.
Regarding the sanctions, the White House is working to adjust a 2015 executive order that gives the president the authority to respond to a cyberthreat from foreign countries, according to the report. However, the original executive order did not cover foreign intervention in the electoral process, which is what the administration is seeking to change.
Talking Points Memo notes that the Obama administration is also working to make sure that Trump's White House cannot roll back any of the actions that Obama takes against Russia at this time.
Ari Schwartz, a former senior director for cybersecurity on the National Security Council said that Obama has an opportunity to make "a very strong statement in a way that is less drastic than bombing a country and more impactful than sending out a cable from the State Department," according to the Washington Post.
One White House official noted their concerns for what could happen in the future, given what occurred in this election. "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."
Trump has repeatedly dismissed Russia's alleged involvement in the election, taking to his Twitter to question the White House's intentions in investigating the matter. He asked in a recent tweet, "Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?"
In repeated attempts to undermine the importance of the information, Trump also argued in an earlier tweet, "Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!"
Even though the president-elect likened Russian interference in the election to a conspiracy, top U.S. security organizations all agreed that Russia's election hacks were partially an attempt at tipping the results in Trump's favor.
The Obama administration could announce its proposed sanctions as early as this week, according to the Post.