Trump questions Obama handling of intelligence on Russian hacking

Published 25.06.2017 02:15
Trump questions Obama handling of intelligence on Russian hacking

US President Donald Trump is questioning his predecessor Barack Obama's handling of intelligence on Russia's efforts to interfere in the presidential elections.

"I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it," Trump said in a Fox News interview set to air Sunday.

"The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before the election. ... If he had the information, why didn't he do something about it?"

The remarks were recorded on Friday, but Trump has been blasting Obama frequently this week over the issue, including in a series of tweets over several days.

The Washington Post reported Obama received a top secret CIA cable that detailed instructions given from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Russian operatives to defeat or damage Hillary Clinton and help elect Trump.

The report details months of deliberation about how to respond to Russia's actions, including plans to place cyberweapons inside Russian infrastructure that could be used in case of an escalation. Obama eventually imposed some sanctions and expelled several Russian diplomats in December.

"Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!" Trump tweeted later Saturday.

"Obama Administration official said they 'choked' when it came to acting on Russian meddling of election," he added. "They didn't want to hurt Hillary?"

The Post quoted one Obama administration official as saying, "It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend. I feel like we sort of choked."

The Russian meddling is at the centre of an ongoing US probe whose focus has also turned to possible collusion between Trump's election campaign team and Russian officials.

Trump has regularly portrayed the investigation and attention on Russia as a ploy by Democrats. "It's all a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election!" he wrote Thursday.

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