Frustrated Dems say Obama botched Russian Federation response

Mueller Probe Could Set the Stage For Hillary's 2020 Return: New at Reason

Those closest to Obama defend the administration's response to Russia's meddling.

"It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend", a former top Obama official in on the Russian Federation discussions said, lamenting the actions ultimately taken against the Kremlin.

The Obama administration announced on October 7 that the theft and release of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails was part of a widespread campaign "intended to interfere with the US election process". He had even challenged the Obama White House to explain why it waited until after the election results were in to sound the Russian Federation alarm.

The Obama administration also considered retaliatory options including the release of intelligence that might embarrass Putin and planting "cyber weapons" in Russia's infrastructure, but eventually settled on something less ambitious, the paper reported.

The covert measures followed intelligence gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency from inside the Russian government that convinced Obama and his intelligence chiefs that President Vladimir Putin of Russia had ordered cyberattacks against the U.S. with the intention of swaying the 2016 presidential election in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump.

But in the end, in late December, Obama approved a modest package combining measures that had been drawn up to punish Russia for other issues - expulsions of 35 diplomats and the closure of two Russian compounds - with economic sanctions so narrowly targeted that even those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic. The White House expelled 35 diplomats, saying at the time they were targeted because of ongoing harassment of US personnel in Russian Federation.

At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the US election were increasingly apparent. There were also concerns that any action would be interpreted as politically motivated on behalf of Obama's fellow Democrat, potentially fuelling Trump's repeated claims that the election would be rigged.




The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it had imposed sanctions on 38 Russian individuals and firms over Russian activities in Ukraine.

Sources defended the Obama administration's decision to not pursue more aggressive tactics.

"I understand the analysis, but look where we are right now".

"[Friday]'s Washington Post story provides shocking new detail of what many of us have asserted all along: that the Obama administration abjectly failed to deter Russian aggression, including Vladimir Putin's ultimate attack on our interests and values - the active, purposeful effort to undermine the integrity of American democracy and shift the outcome of last year's election", McCain said in a statement.

Other former officials are less confident that Obama went far enough in his response.

"It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend", the former senior Obama administration official told the Post.

A former senior Obama administration official involved in White House deliberations on Russian Federation said: "It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend, I feel like we sort of choked".

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