(Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama is forcing his successor, Donald Trump, into a difficult choice: reverse the sanctions the departing president just imposed on Russia for hacking e-mails in the U.S. election or put at risk his campaign vow to improve relations with Vladimir Putin.

Hours after Obama imposed penalties on Russian agencies, individuals and companies and ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian operatives Thursday, Trump issued a terse statement far milder than his previous assertions that Democratic e-mails may well have been stolen and leaked by “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

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