President Donald Trump has once again question why his predecessor Barack Obama did not do something to tackle Russia’s attempt to meddle in the U.S. election, despite the fact that he issued sanctions over the allegations while president.
Trump has become far more amenable to the idea that Russia may have attempted to interfere in the election following the indictment of 13 Russian nationals by Special Counsel Robert Mueller last week. Prior to this, he had slammed the probe, particularly allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives, as a “witch hunt.”
“Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?” Trump tweeted on Monday evening.
Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2018
Following the suggestion that Russia had attempted to influence the outcome of the U.S. election, then-president Obama imposed economic sanctions (although these were largely symbolic), expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S., and announced the closure of two Russian compounds.
At the time, it appeared that Trump did not approve of the sanctions, with reports that he wanted to roll back the sanctions on taking office but was blocked from doing so by Obama holdovers.
“There was serious consideration by the White House to unilaterally rescind the sanctions,” Dan Fried, a former State Department official, told Yahoo News at the time.
The president has previously tweeted about Obama’s response to alleged election meddling, commenting in January: “The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win…and did not want to ‘rock the boat.’ He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good,” in a tweet that suggested he had begun to warm to the idea that Russia may have attempted to interfere in the election.
But despite Trump dialling back on his previous comments that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that there had been no interference in the election, the president maintains the collusion aspect of the investigation is a hoax.
“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said 'it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer,'" Trump tweeted last weekend.
“The Russian 'hoax' was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia—it never did!” he added.
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