Trump accuses Obama of not doing enough to prevent Russian meddling in 2016 election
President Trump is again accusing his predecessor of not doing enough to prevent Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and he’s claiming that he’s the one who has held Russia accountable — not President Obama.
In December 2016, the Obama administrationagainst Russian intelligence entities and agents it determined were responsible for hacks into the Democratic National Committee and related servers. It also expelled 35 Russian operatives, and a senior Obama administration official said at the time that more actions would be coming, some of which would be made public, and some that would not be.
At the time, Mr. Trump’s response was notable — after Russian President Vladimir Putin decided not to expel U.S. diplomats in retaliation, Mr. Trump tweeted, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”
In late January, the Trump administration concluded that further “sanctions on specific [Russian] entities or individuals”because legislation passed by Congress last year has been effective in deterring Russia’s aggressive behavior. Those 2017 sanctions, signed into law by Mr. Trump after some equivocating, targeted Russian energy and defense sectors.
Breaking with the previous administration’s policy, the Trump administration has also signed off on sending lethal aid to Ukrainian forces. Ukraine and Russia remain in a tense standoff over portions of eastern Ukraine that Russia invaded in 2014.
On Monday, Mr. Trump suggested in another tweet that Obama “was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?” And Tuesday morning, he was tweeting a quote from Obama from during the campaign: “There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections, there’s no evidence that that has happened in the past or that it will happen this time, and so I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and make his case to get votes.”
Mr. Trump tweeted Tuesday that because President Obama “thought Crooked Hillary was going to win and he didn’t want to ‘rock the boat.'” But Trump says that when he won “the whole game changed and the Russian excuse became the narrative of the Dems.”
But in the comment cited by Mr. Trump, Obama was addressing Mr. Trump’s pre-election claims of voter fraud — not Russia’s attempt to influence voters on social media. Obama has defended his response to Russian meddling, saying he personally had told the Russian president to “cut it out.”
On Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three entities for allegedly breaking U.S. laws to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. It lays out details about how Russia meddled in the election and what crimes were allegedly committed.
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