NEW YORK, December 30. /TASS/. The Obama administration’s fresh anti-Russian sanctions announced Thursday are "largely symbolic" and may be an attempt to restrict president-elect Donald Trump’s policy toward Moscow, his top aide said in a CNN broadcast.
The outgoing Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia’s military intelligence and security services and expelled 35 Russian diplomats over Moscow’s alleged role in cyberattacks on US political institutions. The Russian government has strongly denied any involvement.
"I've been reading all the news reports about these retaliations, these sanctions put forward by President Obama and his administration," said Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump's campaign and will serve as a counselor to him in the White House. "Some of them seem largely symbolic. The GRU [Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service] doesn't really travel here - doesn't keep its assets here. There's no indication these allies will follow suit."
"I will tell you that even those who are sympathetic to President Obama on most issues are saying that part of the reason he did this today was to quote 'box in' President-elect Trump," she continued.
"That would be very unfortunate if politics were the motivating factor here. We can't help but think that's often true," she went on. "That is not the way that peaceful exchanges work in this democracy."
Trump repeatedly questioned claims of the Russian involvement in the attacks, including leaks of sensitive information that marred the electoral campaign of his opponent Hillary Clinton. However, he announced that he would be briefed by intelligence community leaders about the issue next week.
"It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation," Trump said in a statement.