Addressing the Atlantic Council, Power described Russia as a major threat facing the United States and referred to an unnamed UK parliamentary report in claiming that the Russian government spends between $600 million and $1 billion on RT. The official 2017 budget for RT stands at $300 million.
"The BBG [Broadcasting Board of Governors] spends several times more on foreign broadcasting than RT does but it's still not enough for them. I sincerely hope that this is the last lie of the Obama administration about our channel," Simonyan told RIA Novosti.
The BBG is a US government agency which supervises broadcasters such as the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia. Its stated mission is to support "freedom and democracy" across the world and Obama requested Congress to approve a 2017 budget of $777 million for the organization.
US authorities have repeatedly accused Russia of using its media outlets, including RT and the Sputnik news agency, to influence the outcome of November's US presidential election. The claims took up a significant part of a recent US intelligence report published amid the Democratic Party hacking scandal. The report claimed Russia attempted to swing the election in favor of Trump. Trump said the election outcome was not affected by anything related to Russia, while Russia dismissed the claims as absurd.