Cheney: Russia's efforts to sway US election could be 'act of war'

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has said that Russia's efforts to sway the recent U.S. presidential election could be viewed by some as "an act of war."

He made the comments during a part of his speech at the Economic Times' Global Business Summit Monday where he talked about Russian President Vladimir Putin's "cyber warfare, cyberattacks on the United States."

"There's no question there was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes," he said during his remarks. "In some quarters, that would be considered an act of war."

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"I think it's a kind of conduct and activity we'll see going forward. We know he's attempted it previously in other states in the Baltics," he added. "I would not underestimate the weight that we as Americans assign to the Russian attempts to interfere with our internal political processes."

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Some Democratic lawmakers have also described Russia's activities as a form of warfare, particularly after FBI Director James Comey admitted that the bureau was investigating ties between the country and associates of President Trump.

That includes liberal stalwart Rep. Jackie Speier, a liberal stalwart from California who said recently, "I actually think that their engagement was an act of war, an act of hybrid warfare."

But, cyber expert Michael Schmitt told the Washington Post that Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election would likely not be considered an act of war.

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"[The possible interference] is not an initiation of armed conflict," he said. "It's not a violation of the U.N. Charter's prohibition on the use of force. It's not a situation that would allow the U.S. to respond in self-defense militarily."