President Barack Obama has said that he ordered Russia’s Vladimir Putin to “cut it out” in a conversation about email hacking ahead of the US election.
Implying that the Russian president knew about the hacks, Mr Obama said: “Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin.”
The president said he had warned Mr Putin of serious consequences at a summit in September.
A month later, the US accused Russia of meddling in its democratic process.
The president has promised a “proportional” response to the hacking of the Democratic Party and of emails belonging to defeated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
He appeared to suggest that the US could go on the offensive with its own cyber muscle, stating: “Whatever they do to us, we can potentially do to them.”
Mr Obama’s comments came during his last news conference of the year.