by WorldTribune Staff, June 7, 2017
Former President Barack Obama said at a year-end news conference in December that Russian meddling in the election came to a halt after he told Russian President Vladimir Putin to “cut it out.”
NSA documents leaked by Reality Leigh Winner, however, contradict Obama’s claims as election-related hacking efforts continued until just days before the election.
The documents published by The Intercept on June 5 revealed that, as late as Oct. 31 or Nov. 1, hackers launched an election-related spearfishing operation “targeting U.S. local government organizations.”
The documents’ authenticity has been confirmed by U.S. officials, and the U.S. Department of Justice charged on June 5 charged Winner.
In his Dec. 16 press conference, Obama said:
“What I was concerned about in particular was making sure [the DNC hack] wasn’t compounded by potential hacking that could hamper vote counting, affect the actual election process itself,” Obama said. “So in early September when I saw President Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn’t happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out and there were going to be serious consequences if he didn’t. And in fact we did not see further tampering of the election process.”
The New York Times, at the time, reported that “the president made it sound like that worked,” noting Obama’s claim that “we did not see further tampering of the election process.”
Obama’s claim that he pressured Putin into ceasing tampering with the American electoral process came “amid criticisms that his softness on Russia was to blame in part for the nation’s meddling in the election,” The Daily Caller reported.
“It was only after Donald Trump’s electoral victory that Obama levied sanctions against the Russians.”
President Trump is expected to uphold those sanctions.
One month after his inauguration, Trump questioned whether Obama was “too soft on Russia.”
Lisa Monaco, one of Obama’s top national security advisers, previously told Politico that the Obama administration sought to downplay Russian interference before the election in order to not further Russia’s goal of undermining confidence in the election just before it was supposed to take place.
“Our focus was really to make sure that the election process was not undermined, because here’s the thing: Whatever else was a subject of debate about motive, we knew, and everyone agreed, that one of the goals that Russia had in all of this was to undermine confidence in our democratic process, to sow discord, to sow confusion,” Monaco said.
“Despite Obama’s reassurances that Russia’s best efforts were not enough to alter actual vote totals, recent polling has shown that a majority of Democratic voters don’t believe him,” the Daily Caller said. “A startling 58 percent of Democratic voters believe Russia actually tampered with vote totals in order to get Trump elected – an outlandish conspiracy theory that remains unsupported by evidence.”