If I hated Trump and started debating Trump supporters and convinced them (and the neutral observer) out of their free will to vote for Hillary. Is that foreign sabotage. If I had inside information that would damage the Trump campaign and leaked to the press which convince many people out of their free will not to vote for him, Am I then an example of foreigner trying to sabotage the election or am I just an individual contributing to the global political discussion.
Now of course people will mention the difference is the involvement of government and potentially morally dubious methods of hacking.
In terms of government, well how do you think the idea that one politician from another country getting elected is harmful to your country national interest. Would you want your countries leaders to defend your national interest? Here in Australia we have plenty of politicians denouncing Trump, calling him dangerous to world affairs etc. if those comments influence people to vote against Trump is that foreign meddling (Australia isn't the only country where foreign politicians were publicly critical of Trump either)
If those foreign countries had good information not known to the general public that would discredit Trump as a candidate and decided to release it to convince the population to vote against him then that is fair enough. They are just putting more information on the table and contributing to the overall debate on which candidate is better. More information so that the population is more informed is a good thing
The issue of hacking is a more murky situation. The idea that information gained by criminal means shouldn't be used to influence an election may have some validity. However I don't see the difference of a US citizen hacked both democrats and Republican Party and decided to only leaked the democrat party to try to get Trump to win and a foreign citizen
In my view rigging the actual vote is sabotaging
Persuading the population to vote for your preferred candidate out of their free will is hardly sabotaging even if it was with information obtained by morally grey means (Hacking). In fact convincing another person of voting for your candidate of preference is the backbone of democracy itself
Election is a purely a number games. The reason behind the vote matters less than the numbers of vote. There are heaps of people who vote for a candidate for superficial or stupid or factually incorrect reason. This candidate is more attractive, or the candidate is listed first on the ballot sheet (read the wiki entry on donkey vote) or vote based on faulty information or they like the body language or they are of the same gender/race etc. those votes are just as equal as people voting according to well informed philosophical reasons
It's a bit of a far stretch to say that people voting for a candidate because of a donkey vote or on personal appearance is "legitimate" while people voting based on being persuaded out of their free will to vote for another candidate due to information released from a foreign power to be "illegitimate".
Now of course Russian influencing an election is a problem because I don't think the Russians have the best interest of America in heart and people should be concern about it.
However being concern about it isn't the same as saying the president is illegitimate
Ultimately Trump is a legitimate president but we should be wary of Russian influence on trying to get Trump to win the election. What the Russian did is legitimate realpolitik that every country has the right to do but them acting on their right should be a concern to America and the western world
I don't think those statements are contradictory