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Trump Spokesman Questions if New US Anti-Russia Sanctions Are Proportionate

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US President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team spokesman Sean Spicer on Sunday wondered if new sanctions against Russia imposed over its alleged involvement in cyberattacks on the United States are of proper "magnitude."

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Spicer also stressed Trump's intention to make his own conclusions on the issue of proportionality of the anti-Russia sanctions based on extra information from the US intelligence services.

"One of the questions that we have is, why the magnitude of this? I mean you look at 35 people being expelled, two sites being closed down, the question is, is that response in proportion to the actions taken? Maybe it was; maybe it wasn't but you have to think about that," Spicer said in an interview with the ABC News channel.

A journalist writes a material as she watches a live telecast of the U.S. presidential election standing at portraits of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Union Jack pub in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 - Sputnik International
If Trump Tries to Lift Obama's Sanctions, He 'Will Be Branded as Putin's Agent'
On Thursday, US outgoing President Barack Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, the closing of two Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York and new sanctions against six Russian individuals and five entities over Moscow's alleged interference in the November US presidential election.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied the US allegations of election interference, characterizing them as absurd and laughable nonsense. Moreover, they have said such allegations are intended to deflect US public attention from revelations of corruption and other pressing domestic concerns.

President Vladimir Putin said that Russia "will not expel anyone" in response to US sanctions and will determine further steps in restoring ties with the United States depending on the policy of President-elect Donald Trump. US President-elect Donald Trump in a Twitter message praised Putin’s call as a "great move."

"The President Elect needs to sit down with the heads of the intelligence communities next week and get a full briefing on what they knew, why they knew it, whether or not the Obama administration's response was in proportion to the actions taken. Maybe it was; maybe it wasn't. We need to have that briefing first," Spicer further said.

Spicer recalled the 2015 alleged Chinese hacker attack, which did not provoke any official reaction from the White House and added that "there is a question about whether there's a political retribution here versus a diplomatic response."

In June 2015, the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it had discovered a large cybersecurity breach compromising the personal data of nearly every current and many former US federal employees. According to media reports, US investigators believe Chinese hackers were responsible for the security breach.

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