1236 GMT August 23, 2017
On Thursday, the outgoing Obama administration announced a series of economic sanctions against Russia, as well as the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, over allegations that they country had interfered in the US election through cyberattacks.
The sanctions came hours after a report was issued by American intelligence services, which claimed Russia was behind the hacking.But the analysis has failed to satisfy critics who say the Obama administration has no proof that Moscow tried to interfere in the vote.
The joint report issued by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the cyberattacks were carried out to “compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the US election, as well as a range of US government, political, and private sector entities.”
However, Spicer said he expects a more detailed intelligence analysis regarding allegations of Russia’s intervention in the US election to be released soon, and that until that report is released, Trump will not decide what action his administration might take against Russia.
“The idea that you should be talking about the conclusions or actions you're going to take on a conclusion that’s not final yet is unbelievably irresponsible,” Spicer said on Monday.
“No, no. Hold on. The report is not final. He's not been briefed by the heads of the intelligence community yet and you’re asking me what his response should be. Think about that,” he added.
“They believe something. Then they're having a hearing to get more information and coming to a conclusion,” Spicer said of the senators who believe Russia was behind the attacks.
“That's what we believe should happen. Understand all the information, get all of it, get briefed, make sure the report is final, get the intelligence community to brief us on that and then come to a conclusion,” he added.
“I know this is frustrating for you that we're doing it in a logical way,” he told the CNN host. “No, we're going to get all the information, get briefed properly and then make a decision. We're not going to put the cart before the horse.”
The US sanctions target Russia's FSB and GRU intelligence agencies, four individual GRU officers, and three companies who allegedly provided support to the GRU, and two Russian individuals for using cyberattacks to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.
Under Thursday's actions, the US also shut down two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland alleging they were used "for intelligence-related purposes."
In addition, the Obama administration declared 35 Russian diplomats as "persona non grata." The diplomats, who had been given 72 hours, left the US on Sunday.
Trump’s top aides have suggested that the incoming president could reverse Obama's sweeping sanctions against Moscow and let Russian diplomats back into the country.
They have said the intelligence reports issued under the Obama administration are part of a Democratic effort to delegitimize the Trump presidency.