Russia's US election 'hack': Here's what we know so far

The implication Russia interfered through hacking to affect the result of the US presidential election sounds more like something from House Of Cards than real life.

But hey, it’s 2016 and the big news just keeps getting bigger – here’s all you need to know about it.

What is the White House accusing?

The Obama administration has suggested Russian president Vladimir Putin personally authorised the hacking of Democratic officials’ email accounts in the run-up to the presidential election.

They have also claimed it was a “fact” such actions helped Donald Trump’s campaign and that this was the intention of the hack.

The White House also attacked Trump, alleging the president-elect himself must have known of Russia’s interference. Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said this was “obvious” because he encouraged Moscow to find Clinton’s missing emails during a news conference.

What’s their proof?

No proof has been offered for any of the White House’s claims. However, after gathering unreleased intelligence the CIA have asserted with “high confidence” Russia had engaged in the subterfuge – something lawmakers are now investigating.

Meanwhile, experts on the subject, such as the UK’s former ambassador to Russia Sir Andrew Wood, have said the idea Trump didn’t know something about the alleged hack is “almost impossible”.

And the evidence against?

Speaking on an American radio show with Fox News’s Sean Hannity, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has contested the claim his anti-secrecy organisation received Democrat’s hacked emails from the Russians or any state.

Assange claimed the move by the US government was a “foolish” and “dangerous” attempt to block Trump from being elected.

What’s the US going to do about it?

Barack Obama has said the US will “take action” over the alleged hacking and that the US will respond at a “time and place of our choosing”, but it is unclear what the “action” entails.

He adds: “Some of it may be explicit and publicised, some of it may not be. But Mr Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it.”

What has been the response from Russia?

The Russian government has repeatedly disputed the claim ever since allegations were first made of the hacking back in the summer.

Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in July the claims were “maniacal”.

Peskov said: “This is not breaking new ground, this is an old trick which is being played again. This is not good for our bilateral relations, but we understand that we simply have to get through this unpleasant period.”

The Kremlin has now categorically rejected the claim Putin had any involvement in the alleged hacking, with Peskov calling it “laughable nonsense”.

And from Donald Trump?

In an interview on Fox News, Trump said the claims were “ridiculous” and “just another excuse” to block him from the presidency – and, unsurprisingly, he has been vocal on Twitter on the accusations.

Trump’s senior advisor for transitioning into the White House Kellyanne Conway said the claims Trump knew about the alleged hacking were “breathtaking” and irresponsible.

In response to the point made that he encouraged Moscow to find Clinton’s missing emails, Trump said he was joking.

And the response to that from the White house?

Spokesman Earnest said: “I don’t think anybody at the White House thinks it’s funny that an adversary of the United States engaged in malicious cyber activity to destabilise our democracy. That’s not a joke.”

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