11:46 GMT12 April 2021
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    Washington is continuing to pursue a diplomatic showdown with Moscow over Russia's alleged interference in last year's US presidential elections, according to Sputnik Japan columnist Andrey Ilyashenko.

    A diplomatic standoff between Washington and Moscow over Russia allegedly meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections shows no sign of abating, political analyst Andrey Ilyashenko wrote in his article for Sputnik Japan.

    He quoted the Russian President's press secretary Dmitry Peskov as saying that Moscow knows nothing about the true goals of the authors of the US intelligence report on the suspected Russian hacker attack.

    "The absolutely unfounded accusations (in the published part of the report) sound at a rather amateurishly emotional level that can be hardly applied to the highly professional work of high-class [intelligence] services," Peskov said.

    "We still don't know what the facts are and what data those who make such unfounded accusations have," he added.

    For his part, US State Department spokesman John Kirby attributed the lack of evidence in the report of to the desire of US intelligence to maintain the secrecy of their sources of information and methods of work.

    Meanwhile, opponents of Trump in the US are sparking suspicions, Ilyashenko said, quoting New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow as saying that "Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin's American 'president' — clearly his preference and possibly his product."

    "Mr. Trump, your victory is tainted; your legitimacy is rightly in question," according to Blow.

    "However, if we proceed from this assumption, it turns out that the Democrats left a bad legacy for Trump, who will be the President of a country where public opinion and the outcome of the presidential elections can be affected by the leader of another country with the help of hackers. So it seems that the authors of the report try to avoid making such conclusions," Ilyashenko said.

    "We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion," he quoted them as saying.

    Ilyashenko predicted that the next round of domestic political confrontation in the US will certainly start amid the US Congress' discussion of the Trump team's candidates. 

    "For Democrats, this will be another opportunity to slam Trump's election promises and his personnel policy. It appears that the Democrats do not realize the fact that their continuous attacks on Trump's political reputation not only weaken his position, but also damage the international clout of the US," Ilyashenko pointed out.

    He added that social inequality in the US, which was a major factor adding to Trump's election win, is now accompanied by a political split between his supporters and opponents, as well as a standoff between Trump and the media, intelligence community, intellectuals, businesspeople and minorities.

    Both US allies and rivals, including Russia, China, Japan and the EU, are keeping a watchful eye on how Trump will respond to the attacks against the legitimacy of his presidency, and how he will compensate for weakness caused by permanent internal political conflict, according to Ilyashenko.

    "The current situation does not add to the stability of international affairs. Rather to the contrary," Ilyashenko concluded.


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    suspicions, legacy, clout, confrontation, standoff, elections, hackers, Donald Trump, US
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