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US slaps sanctions on Russia, expels 35 diplomats

Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, right, looks at US Sen. John McCain centre left, during a press conference, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016 in Riga, Latvia, while Lindsey Graham, R-SC., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., stand in the background. Russia can expect hard-hitting sanctions from United States lawmakers if an investigation proves that Moscow interfered in the presidential election, a U.S. senator said Wednesday during a visit to Latvia.

AP Photo/Vitnija Saldava

Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, right, looks at US Sen. John McCain centre left, during a press conference, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016 in Riga, Latvia, while Lindsey Graham, R-SC., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., stand in the background. Russia can expect hard-hitting sanctions from United States lawmakers if an investigation proves that Moscow interfered in the presidential election, a U.S. senator said Wednesday during a visit to Latvia.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation for Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts.

The State Department also has kicked out 35 Russian diplomats from its embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco, giving them and their families 72 hours to leave the U.S. The diplomats were declared persona non grata for acting in a "manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status."

Obama said Russians will no longer have access to two Russian government-owned compounds in the United States, in Maryland and in New York.

Russian officials have denied the Obama administration's accusation that the Russian government was trying to influence the U.S. presidential election.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia's goal was to help Donald Trump win — an assessment Trump has dismissed as ridiculous.