Democrats Defend Obama's Efforts to Prevent Russia Interfering In 2016 Election
Former administration's knew about Russian meddling before it took place
The Democrats have claimed the Obama administration did everything it could to stop Russia from meddling in the 2016 presidential election, while also alleging that the Trump White House did not have much interest in preventing Russian interference.
President Donald Trump slammed former President Barack Obama in a tweet leading up to Attorney General Bill Barr's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, asking him why he did not do more.
According to the Mueller report, alleged Russian meddling started in 2014, but Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal claimed that the Obama administration tried to stop it from happening while insisting the Trump administration denied interference occurred.
“The previous administration made efforts to stop it. Obama told Putin to cut it out. They imposed sanctions. My view was that perhaps more could have been done in hindsight," Blumenthal said.
"But they were at least moving in the right direction as opposed to simply denying that there was any meddling which is Trump’s attitude,” he added.
But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer admitted that the Trump White House signed off on $380 million for the states to spend on election security in 2018.
“It’s one of those government programs that was put together and was spent very well,” Schumer said.
Moreover, the Trump administration has also expelled “dozens of Russian diplomats and providing lethal weapons support to Ukraine, according to Foreign Policy magazine.
Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein admitted she “wasn’t prepared” to give her comments on the Obama administration reaction tot he Russia’s intrusion.
She added she did not “know any of the particular data of [the election interference] beginning in 2014.”
Democratic Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy asked the question of how much the Obama administration knew about Russian meddling before it took place.
In March, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that although Mueller’s report “conclusively” exonerates presdient Donald Trump, it does not account for Obama.
McConnell blamed the Obama administration for not dealing with alleged Russia election interference three years ago.
“No collusion, no conspiracy, no obstruction,” McConnell said in a floor speech Monday following Mueller's report.
“It’s good news that our law enforcement professionals know much more about Russia’s benevolent attempts to interfere in the American election and its good news that we can conclusively set aside the notion that the president and his team had somehow participated in those attacks on our democracy,” McConnell said.
Politico noted that the Obama administration became aware of Russia’s intention to interfere with the elections in 2014.
The report says that the administration learned that the Kremlin was installing a disinformation unit that could be used to disrupt Western countries like the United States.
But Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin called out Mitch McConnell, who insisted he did not support Obama when his administration declared that Russia was behind the hacks of the emails of Hillary Clinton and John Podesta,
“The President on October 7, before the election, made that declaration and asked for bipartisan support and Senator McConnell would not join him,” said Durbin.
Over a dozen officials from various sectors inclduing intelligence agencies and the national security field agreed that the Obama administration was well aware of what the Russians were doing, but didn't react appropriately.
Intelligence officials “had a list of things they could never get the sign-offs on,” one intelligence official said.
“The truth is, nobody wanted to piss off the Russians.”