Is there precedent for this?

The US has issued sanctions against Russia before—over the conflict in Ukraine—but a foreign country known to be meddling in US elections is a first, and America’s infrastructure for responding to cyberthreats is still nascent. Also unprecedented: A US president-elect publicly disagreeing with the findings of multiple intelligence agencies.

Riiiight, what about Donald Trump?

The Obama administration and US intelligence agencies are pretty in sync on Russia’s involvement in the hacks; the president-elect not so much. Trump—who was accused throughout his campaign of being soft on Russia and its president, Vladmir Putin—has repeatedly said that he doesn’t believe the US intelligence agencies’ conclusions. 

“I think we ought to get on with our lives,” Trump told reporters a day before the White House announced the retaliatory actions. “I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on.”

The sanctions put Trump in a tricky position. He’ll either have to accept them when he takes office, or lift them against the will of US intelligence agencies—and members of his own party. House speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, called the sanctions “overdue” and top Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain have also expressed support for the Obama administration’s actions. 

“We intend to lead the effort in the new Congress to impose stronger sanctions on Russia,” Graham and McCain said in a joint statement.

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