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U.S. Will 'Take Action' on Russian Hacking, Obama Promises

The U.S. response to alleged Russian interference in the election will come "at a time and place of our own choosing," Obama told NPR.
Image: U.S. President Obama delivers remarks at the My Brother's Keeper Summit in Washington
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the My Brother's Keeper Summit at the South Court Auditorium of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 14, 2016.YURI GRIPAS / Reuters

The United States will respond to Russia's alleged covert cyber-campaign to interfere in the presidential election, President Barack Obama promised in excerpts of an interview released Thursday night.

"I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action and we will — at a time and place of our own choosing," Obama said in the interview with NPR, which will air in full Friday on "Morning Edition."

"Some of it may be explicit and publicized. Some of it may not be," he said, according to a clip from the interview that NPR posted online Thursday night. "But Mr. Putin is well aware of my feelings about this because I spoke to him directly about it."

NBC News reported Thursday that U.S. intelligence officials have "a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the Russian hacking.

Related: Why Didn't Obama Do More About Russian Election Hack?

The administration didn't respond more forcefully before the election because officials believed Hillary Clinton was going to win and they didn't want to appear to be interfering in the election themselves, high-level government officials told NBC News.

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Obama has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct a full review of the cyber-attacks before Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. He told NPR that the review should yield a "best guess" as to Russia's motives.

"But that does not, in any way, I think, detract from the basic point that everyone during the election perceived accurately — that, in fact, what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign," he said, according to NPR.

Related: U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack

But Obama didn't completely blame the operation for Clinton's her defeat.

"Elections can always turn out differently," he said, according to NPR. "You never know which factors are going to make a difference. But I have no doubt that it had some impact, just based on the coverage."