Putin denies Russian state involvement in US election hacking, says Russian citizens may have tried

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied on Thursday that Russia participated in any state-sponsored hacking activities designed to sway the election outcome in the U.S., reports the Associated Press.

He did suggest that Russian citizens could, theoretically, have done so, noting, "If they have patriotic leanings, they may try to add their contribution to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia."

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According to the Associated Press, Putin also said, "I can imagine that some do it deliberately, staging a chain of attacks in such a way as to cast Russia as the origin of such an attack. Modern technologies allow that to be done quite easily."

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U.S. intelligence agencies have, of course, determined otherwise.

A joint report released by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI in late December outlines how the link between hacking activities during 2016 U.S. election and Russian involvement was made, notes The Hill.

According to the media outlet, "The document makes clear reference to the hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, though it does not mention either by name."

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Clinton also continues to express confidence that Russia interfered in the election and in a way that impacted its outcome. While speaking at the Code Conference on Wednesday, she cited not just hacking, but how the information gathered was weaponized, as one of the reasons for her loss.

She also raised the provocative question, "how did they know what messages to deliver?"