Russia: "Not a single fact" to prove US election hacking allegation

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ridiculed US allegations of Moscow-linked election hacking on Wednesday, saying in a televised interview that the claims were unproven.

Last week, the US charged that the Russian government had intentionally interfered with the US presidential election process by directing recent attacks on email systems used by US political organizations.

The breaches include a well-publicized hack of Democratic Party emails in July that exposed favouritism within the top echelons of the party for Hillary Clinton over rival Bernie Sanders.

Lavrov told broadcaster CNN in Moscow there was nothing to deny. "They did not prove it," he said.

The White House however said it stood by the intelligence assessment of the hacking, calling it "consistent with Russian directed efforts."

Spokesman Josh Earnest said the US would not discuss how it made its determination in order to avoid compromising its intelligence gathering, but charged that no amount of information "would get Lavrov to admit Russian complicity in these efforts."

The Russian diplomat called the US allegation flattering.

"It's flattering of course, to get this kind of attention, for a regional power, as President [Barack] Obama called us some time ago," Lavrov said.

"Everybody in the United States is saying that it is Russia which is running the ... presidential debate," Lavrov said. "It's flattering, as I said, but it has nothing to be explained by the facts. We have not seen a single fact, a single proof."

He accused Washington of failing to respond to the Russian prosecutor general's offer last year for "professional consultations" on cybercrime with the US Justice Department.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and director of national intelligence issued a joint statement Friday saying the US intelligence community is "confident" that the Russian government directed the recent attacks.

"These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process," the statement said.

The hacked email was exposed by several websites, including WikiLeaks, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in July, leading to the resignation of Democratic Party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Lavrov said Moscow was not concerned about the prospect of a US response to Russian-based hacking: "It's not worth, I believe, speculating. If they decided to do something, let them do it."

Lavrov was also asked to comment on a video that surfaced last week showing Trump speaking lewdly about sexually assaulting women.

The Russian replied, "There are so many pussies around the presidential campaign on both sides that I prefer not to comment."

The video has widened a rift within the Republican Party as many lawmakers withdrew support from the candidate and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan saying he would not longer campaign with Trump.

Last update: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 22:01
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