The final Mueller report shows that Barack Obama “blew it bigtime” on Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election, a Republican pundit claims.
Writing for USA Today, strategist and former Bush White House appointee Scott Jennings claimed the report shows “breathtaking” failure on Obama’s part to respond to Russian interference that started in 2014. Jennings wrote that the report found no evidence the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia (though the report itself details ongoing contact between the Trump campaign and Russia), but did say it confirmed that Obama “failed to stop a hostile foreign power from invading our democracy.”
Jennings wrote that Obama’s priority instead was getting Russia to back the Iran nuclear deal, causing Obama to turn a blind eye to Russia’s election interference. Jennings blamed Obama for allowing the interference to continue.
“Russian meddling is a mess of Obama’s making, and Trump should order immediate steps to use the Mueller report as a roadmap for stopping them in the future,” he wrote. ‘When you consider that Obama failed to prosecute Julian Assange after his 2010 attack on America, and that he then went on to help Russia meddle in the 2016 election, Obama just looks horrible on this entire ordeal.”
Barack Obama’s response to Russian interference has long been a point of contention. As FactCheck.org noted, the FBI launched an investigation into Russian interference in July 2016. At the time, Obama had planned to come forward with a bipartisan statement on Russian attempts to interfere in the election but was thwarted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Last year, former Vice President Joe Biden recounted how Obama encouraged a united front from Democrats and Republicans, in order to make it clear that Obama was not trying to undermine the legitimacy of the election while informing Americans of efforts the Russian government was taking to meddle in the election.
As NPR noted, McConnell refused to go along with it and expressed skepticism in the underlying intelligence behind the claim. American intelligence agencies reached a consensus that the Russian government had directed a campaign to interfere in the election in order to support Donald Trump, though Trump himself and other Republicans have cast doubt on that evidence.
#Trump strategy today has been to blame #Obama for #RussianInterference. Whether or not Obama shld have done more is not going to protect us from future interference: “The counterintelligence investigation of the Trump team and Russia hasn't stopped” https://t.co/l3ZhtF9zkc
— Maya Wiley (@mayawiley) April 19, 2019
Jennings’ argument was one echoed by Donald Trump after the release of the Mueller report. Trump took to Twitter to blame his predecessor, saying that Obama was told about Russian interference and “did nothing.” Trump’s tweet made no mention of Mitch McConnell.