Anonymous U.S. officials said Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in efforts to hack the Democratic National Committee and help elect President-elect Donald Trump.
According to NBC News, “two senior officials” made the claim, which was based on intelligence “from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies.”
The Russian government responded by saying the accusations from unnamed U.S. government sources “cannot have any grounds.”
"I was astonished when I saw it,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to the Russian News Agency. “I think, this is nothing but nonsense, there is not a chance that anybody could believe that."
The U.S. government has been blaming Russia for the DNC hacks since at least Oct. 7, when the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement about the matter:
The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.
These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow - the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.
Trump said the Democratic Party is using Russian hackers as an excuse for their stunning loss in the presidential election.
"I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it. I don't know why and I think it's just - you know, they talked about all sorts of things. Every week it's another excuse...No, I don't believe that at all," Trump said, according to CNN. "They have no idea if it's Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean they have no idea."