It’s a rare sight these days to see Republicans and Democrats agree on anything, and that goes double when the Republican in question is President Donald Trump. But just such a phenomenon occurred this weekend in the wake of former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s Senate testimony and an accompanying article in the Washington Post that explored Barack Obama’s hesitation to do anything about the Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In an interview with Fox & Friends, Trump said, “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. The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before the election. If he had the information, why didn’t he do something about it?”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway echoed those remarks on Sunday, telling ABC’s This Week, “It’s the Obama administration that was responsible for doing absolutely nothing from August to January with the knowledge that Russia was hacking into our election. They did absolutely nothing. They’re responsible for this.”
Now, you might expect Trump & Co. to launch these attacks on the previous administration, but what’s surprising is that at least one top Democrat appears to agree. Obama had the information in front of him about Russian’s trying to interfere in the election, and he did nothing about it until the election was over. And Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, thinks that was a big mistake on the former president’s part.
“I think the administration needed to call out Russia earlier, needed to act to deter and punish Russia earlier, and that was a very serious mistake,” Schiff said on CNN.
Of course, the real question is whether or not there was really anything to punish Russia FOR. Are we really supposed to believe that Obama took a hands-off approach because he didn’t want to be seen as “rigging” the election for Hillary Clinton? Where was this concern when his attorney general was doing everything possible to make sure Hillary escaped justice? We don’t buy it for a second. In fact, the more compelling theory is that the Obama administration wasn’t certain that the Russians were even involved and that the Democrats are STILL not sure they were behind the hacks.
On the other hand, Obama made himself a tidy little reputation for avoiding confrontation even when the culprits were as clear as day, so if the story is that he simply wussed out…yeah, that would make sense as well.