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Pence: Russia is meddling in US election

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Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence tells the CBS News Face the Nation program that “we’ll respect the will of the American people in this election” but encourages the media to further discuss Hillary Clinton’s “avalanche of emails that is confirming pay to play politics and outright corruption during the Clinton years.”

Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said there’s evidence implicating Russia in the email hacks. Picture: AP Photo/Darron Cummings

US REPUBLICAN vice presidential candidate Mike Pence says evidence implicates Russia in recent email hacks tied to the US election, contradicting his running mate, Donald Trump, who cast doubt on Russia’s involvement.

Pence said in an interview aired overnight on Fox News Sunday that Russia or any other country involved in hacking should face “severe consequences”.

The disagreement with Trump, the Republican nominee for the November 8 election, came after the pair also publicly disagreed about US policy toward Russia in Syria.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence (left) don’t see eye-to-eye on a range of issues. Picture: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence (left) don’t see eye-to-eye on a range of issues. Picture: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFPSource:AFP

US intelligence officials believe Russia is behind recent email hacks targeting Democratic Party officials, including the continuing dumps by Wikileaks of documents stolen from the email account of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

“I think there’s no question that the evidence continues to point in that direction,” Pence said. “There should be severe consequences to Russia or any sovereign nation that is compromising the privacy or the security of the United States of America.”

In another interview on Meet the Press, Pence said “there’s more and more evidence that implicates Russia”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week said his country was not involved in trying to influence the US election.

Trump, who has been criticised for appearing too close to Russia after he publicly praised Putin’s strength, has questioned the reports of Moscow’s involvement. During last week’s second debate with Clinton he said, “Maybe there is no hacking.”

Trump also broke with Pence during that debate on their foreign policy stance toward Russia. Pence had recently said the United States should use military force in Syria if Russia continued air strikes to prop up President Bashar al-Assad, but Trump said he disagreed with that stance.

Trump this week has said the election is being “rigged” against him by the Clinton campaign and the media, raising questions about whether he would challenge the outcome should he lose to Clinton.

Pence said Republicans would accept the result. “We’ll respect the outcome of this election,” he said. “Donald Trump said in the first debate that we’ll respect the will of the American people in this election. The peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of American history.”
Meanwhile, Putin has told journalists in the Russian press corps that they are possibly being watched by American intelligence agencies.

Putin made the comments Sunday in Benaulim, India, where he was attending the summit of the BRICS group of emerging economies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists in the Russian press corps that Americans could be spying on them. Picture: AFP/Sputnik

Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists in the Russian press corps that Americans could be spying on them. Picture: AFP/SputnikSource:AFP

Putin told journalists covering his visit that “the United States listens to everything and looks at everything. All of you are objects of exploitation for the special services.”

Putin said that “you are in the presidential pool and you may hear something or see it, talk with somebody, you freely chat on the telephone on open connections,” according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

Putin’s warning comes as tensions with Washington over Syria and other issues have escalated.