Donald Trump launches fresh attack on Barack Obama as he asks 'why no action' on Russian election meddling

'Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action?' tweets Mr Trump

May Bulman
Saturday 24 June 2017 22:16
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The President  accused the former president of failing to act on Russian "meddling" during the election last year
The President accused the former president of failing to act on Russian "meddling" during the election last year

Donald Trump has launched a fresh attack on former President Barack Obama accusing the former president of failing to act on Russian "meddling" during the election last year.

Lashing out at Mr Obama on Twitter, the President wrote: “Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!”

The tweet came a day after the Washington Post detailed the Obama administration's cautious approach to punishing the Russian government for its hacking campaign - apparently signed off by Russian President Vladimir Putin - intended to politically damage Hillary Clinton and swing the election in Mr Trump's favour.

The Obama administration is believed to have found out about the hacking in August 2016, but officials were wary of releasing the information to the public for fear of being accused of interfering in the election themselves.

One official claimed that the administration had "sort of choked" in not acting more quickly, a point Mr Trump jumped on in a second tweet: “Obama Administration official said they ‘choked’ when it came to acting on Russian meddling of election. They didn't want to hurt Hillary?”

The slow response by the Obama administration was also a result of confidence in Ms Clinton’s campaign winning the election. Throughout the fall, as November crept closer, Democrats saw many signs that their candidate would ultimately win: She had three strong debate performances against Mr Trump, polls showed her with an impressive lead most of the time, and Mr Trump appeared to have an incredible capacity for inflicting harm on his campaign just by making controversial remarks on stage.

The Obama administration considered retaliatory measures against Moscow after they learned about the extent of the meddling, including potentially compiling a personal dossier on Vladimir Putin that could be released to embarrass him. They also considered planting “cyber weapons” in Russian infrastructure that could harm those services. They ultimately landed on modest sanctions, and expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the country in December - a decision some have criticised.

The latest tweets by Mr Trump appear part of a strategy to raise the Obama administrations' role in investigating the hacking, with the current President's White House facing daily questions about a number of investigations into the meddling, and possible links to the Trump campaign.

Having previously not produced a straight answer about whether he believed Russia had tried to hack the Presidential election, Mr Trump tweeted on Friday: "The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?".

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That coincided with a video clip being released by the Fox network of an interview with the President where Mr Trump saying that "nobody wants to talk" about the Obama administration and the hacking.

“Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it,” Mr Trump said in an excerpt of his interview on Fox News' Fox and Friends programme, which is due to be aired in full on Sunday. “But nobody wants to talk about that.”

“The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even — before the election,” Mr Trump added. “And I hardly see it. It's an amazing thing. To me, in other words, the question is, if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it. But you don't read that. It's quite sad.”

A Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, has taken over an FBI investigation into the Russian interference - after Mr Trump fired the then-FBI Director James Comey last month. Multiple congressional committees are also currently investigating Russia's role in the election, as well as possible collusion between the Mr Trump campaign and Moscow.

Mr Mueller is said to be investigating Mr trump over potential obstruction of justice over his firing of Mr Comey abd here have been reports that Mr Trump had talked privately about potentially firing Mr Mueller. When asked on Friday whether he believed Mr Mueller should recuse himself over his friendship with Mr Comey. Mr Trump told the Fox News Channel "we'll have to see" and his repeatedly denied any obstruction of justice. Mr Trump called the friendship between Mr Comey and Mr Mueller "bothersome" but said Mr Mueller was an "honourable man". The White House later said Mr Trump had no intention of asking for Mr Mueller to be fired.

The President has denied any coordination between his team and Russian officials and has branded the investigations a “witch hunt”, claiming they are intended to hamper the work of his administration.

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