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U.S. uses sanctions to strike back at Russia for 2016 election meddling

The Trump administration officially moved to punish Russia for cyberattacks and election meddling in the U.S. and Europe by imposing sanctions against 19 Russians -- 13 of whom have been indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. That word came as officials also accused Moscow of a sweeping campaign to disrupt key industries. Judy Woodruff reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The United States is striking back at Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election with the strongest response since President Trump took office.

    That word came today as officials also accused Moscow of a sweeping campaign to disrupt key industries.

  • Sarah Sanders:

    The president has also shown that he's been extremely tough on Russia throughout his administration, and I think particularly you saw that today in the Russia sanctions that were put forward.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    With the announcement, the Trump administration officially moved to punish Russia for cyber-attacks and election meddling in the United States and Europe.

    The sanctions target 19 Russians, 13 of whom have been indicted already in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The 13 worked at a place called the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg. It is accused of orchestrating a vast online campaign of chaos and disinformation during the 2016 U.S. election.

    Four other entities, including Russian security services and military intelligence, will have their U.S. assets frozen, and be barred from doing business with Americans. The U.S. Congress had originally set a January deadline for imposing the sanctions. But President Trump has dismissed claims of Russian election meddling as a hoax, or insisted it didn't contribute to his winning the White House.

    He said it again just last week.

  • President Donald Trump:

    The Russians had no impact on our votes whatsoever. But certainly there was meddling, and probably there was meddling from other countries, and maybe other individuals.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Still, White House officials joined the U.S. Treasury, the FBI, Homeland Security, and intelligence agencies in making today's announcement. They also looked beyond the U.S. election and described an even broader campaign by Moscow.

    It allegedly includes meddling in French and German elections, Russia's annexation of Crimea, and interference in Eastern Ukraine, and a cyber-attack that crippled computers across Europe, Asia and the Americas last June.

    The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI also charged that Russia has attempted to penetrate the U.S. energy grid in what they called a multistage intrusion campaign.

    The head of the Internet Research Agency scoffed at the U.S. actions. Yevgeny Prigozhin said he has no business in the U.S. and will not be affected.

    Russia's deputy foreign minister said his government has begun to prepare a response to the sanctions.

    We will take a longer look at all of this right after the news summary.

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