The Kremlin on Thursday disputed an NBC News' report that U.S. intelligence has documented Vladimir Putin's personal involvement in a Russian intelligence operation to interfere in the U.S. presidential election.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told The Associated Press the report was "laughable nonsense."
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, accused "Western media" of being a "shill" and a "mouthpiece of various power groups."
NBC News reported Thursday night that two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.
Appearing on MSNBC Thursday, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said: "We just don't think Russia would engage in activities like hacking American political organizations without the approvals from the highest level of government. And we are considering what are the responses that can be taken."