US President Donald Trump has blamed his predecessor for not countering Russia’s alleged attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections. Some of Trump’s critics allege the interference, which Russia denies ever happened, was meant to benefit him.
Trump made the remark during an interview with the Fox & Friends program aired on Sunday.
“The CIA gave him [Barack Obama] information on Russia a long time before the election. And I hardly see it [in the media],” Trump said. “If he had the information, why didn’t he do something about it?” he asked.
Trump was apparently referring to a Friday report in the Washington Post that detailed the Obama’s administration effort to deal with the election crisis.
The newspaper cited anonymous government officials as saying that, in August of 2016, the CIA had reported to Obama as a fact that Russia was trying to interfere in the upcoming election. According to the Washington Post article, the CIA claimed that it had intercepted “specific instructions” from Russian President Vladimir “on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.”
Trump’s critical remark follows several tweets following the same narrative in the past few days.
Some high-ranking Democrats joined Trump in his criticism of the previous administration. Adam Schiff, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that Obama’s inaction in the case of Russia’s alleged interference in the US elections was a “very serious mistake.”
“The American people needed to know. I didn’t think it was enough to tell them after the election… I think the administration needed to call out Russia earlier, needed to act to deter and punish Russia earlier and that was a very serious mistake,” he said.
His words were partly echoed by another Democrat, Ron Wyden, a member of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, who said he was “troubled, learning this new information that the Obama administration didn’t do more,” AFP reports.
The WaPo story describes the alleged election interference as the “crime of the century” in political terms, claiming that, in response, Obama had authorized the infection of Russia’s infrastructure so as to create the “digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow.” However, that initiative was still being planned when Trump took office.
Russia denies the that it interfered in the US election and believes the dominating anti-Russian rhetoric surrounding Trump’s election is a sign of domestic division and party conflict in the US.