Ash Carter: Obama's Response to Putin on Election Meddling 'Was Not Sufficient'

July 9, 2017

Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter appeared to agree with President Donald Trump Sunday that President Barack Obama did not do enough to respond to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Carter, who served as Obama's last Pentagon chief, said that his response "was not sufficient," and that "more needs to be done" to respond to Russian interference.

Trump had previously attacked his predecessor for failure to act, tweeting that Obama did "NOTHING" because he believed that Hillary Clinton would win. Trump's tweets were likely in part prompted by a Washington Post report detailing President Obama's "struggle" to punish Russia.

CNN host Dana Bash said that Trump "has a point," and pushed Carter on why Obama was not more effective with Russia.

"You were his defense secretary. You were in the Situation Room when this was discussed. Why didn't he act?" she asked.

"I think he did take some actions. In defense we took a wide range of actions," Carter said. "But I don't think—I think it's quite clear that that was not sufficient. That's why it's so important to press the Russians now."

"If it were sufficient, Vladimir Putin's answer to our president wouldn't have been to cast doubt upon it or ask for further intelligence from the United States," he added.

"You said that more could have been done," Bash asked. "Did President Obama make a mistake in not doing more?"

"He took some steps, no question about it. But I think you see from Vladimir Putin's answer right now that more needs to be done," Carter said. "Putin is not convinced that there are going to be consequences of a magnitude for Russia, as a consequence of interfering with the U.S. election that make it unwise for him to do it in the future. That hasn't been accomplished yet."