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Democrats Criticize Obama for Response to Russia’s Election Interference

• July 5, 2017 1:41 pm

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Several Democratic lawmakers have recently come out and criticized former President Barack Obama's administration for its handling of the Russian government's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The Washington Post reported last month on the Obama administration's "secret struggle" to respond to Russia's election meddling. One former senior Obama official who was involved in White House discussions on Russia told the Post that the administration "choked."

"It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend," the official said. "I feel like we sort of choked."

After the article was published, several Democratic lawmakers also criticized Obama's response to Russian meddling in America's electoral system.

"Do you think that the Obama administration choked and should have done more when it knew that the Russians were interfering?" CNN host Fareed Zakaria asked Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"With the value of hindsight, yes," Warner responded.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, came out and said Obama's delayed response was a mistake.

"I think the Obama administration should have done a lot more when it became clear that not only was Russia intervening but it was being directed at the highest levels of the Kremlin," Schiff said. "Given the seriousness of this, I think the administration needed to call out Russia earlier, needed to act to deter and punish Russia earlier, and I think that was a very serious mistake."

Rep. Jim Himes (D., Conn.) said the Obama administration did not do enough.

"I don't disagree with the president [Donald Trump] that our last president, President Obama, he did not do nothing, he did a lot, but he didn't do enough," Himes said. "He didn't do enough to cause Vladimir Putin to know that this sort of attack on the United States will be met by painful retribution. So Trump is right in that regard."

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama criticized his Republican opponent at the time, Mitt Romney, for naming Russia as the United States' number one geopolitical threat.

"Gov. Romney, I'm glad that you recognize that al Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not al Qaeda. You said Russia," Obama said.

Obama then made a now-infamous quip to Romney.

"The 1980s, they're now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War's been over for 20 years," Obama said.