President Barack Obama took a slap at Donald Trump on Monday over his assertions that ‘no one really knows’ who hacked Democrats before the election or why.
The departing president smacked Trump for urging the Kremlin to ‘hack Hillary’s emails so that we can…confirm our conspiracy theories.’
He took aim at the public next, scolding voters for their ‘obsession’ with stolen emails Wikileaks put out in the final weeks of the presidential campaign that were obtained through a hack on a senior Clinton aide’s personal account.
Earlier in the day Obama’s spokesman let loose on Trump in his daily briefing. He also accused the president-elect of willful ignorance.
‘He called on Russia to hack his opponent. He called on Russia to attack Secretary Clinton,’ Josh Earnest said. ‘So, he certainly had a pretty good sense of which side this activity was coming down on.’
Earnest and Obama were referring to Trump’s plea at a July rally that the Kremlin look for Clinton’s deleted emails next after it was revealed that top Democrats had been hacked, likely by Russia.
‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,’ Trump said.
‘I think you’ll be rewarded mightily by our press!’
Democrats hit him for encouraging foreign espionage.
‘The president-elect in some of his political events, specifically said to the Russians, “Hack Hillary’s emails so that we can finally find out what’s going on and confirm our conspiracy theories,” ‘ Obama claimed in a Monday interview with the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah.
The U.S. president said he still doesn’t understand why illegally obtained emails from Democratic officials, released online just before the party’s nominating convention, and a related hack on Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s account received more attention than revelations that Russia ordered the intrusion.
‘What is it about the state of our democracy where the leaks of what were frankly not very interesting emails, that didn’t have any explosive information in them, ended up being an obsession?
‘And the fact that the Russians were doing this was not an obsession?’ he added.
Obama told Noah, ‘The real question that I think we all have to reflect on is what’s happened to our political system where some emails that were hacked and released ended up being the overwhelming story and the constant source of coverage, breathless coverage that was depicted as somehow damning in all sorts of ways — when the truth of the matter was it was fairly routine stuff.’
Noah’s sit-down interview with Obama at the White House dovetailed an article in the Washington Post on the election hacking that put the current administration and the new one at odds with each other.
The White House pressed pause on a post-election detente with the president-elect on Monday to harangue him for rejecting the CIA’s assertion that Russia engineered a series of hacks on Democrats to get him elected.
Trump said Sunday, in response to a Post article disclosing the CIA’s stance, that Obama’s party was making excuses for Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss.
He defend Kremlin in a Fox News interview and a tweet Monday morning.
Obama’s spokesman subsequently broke his self-imposed silence on the president-elect in his afternoon briefing.
Earnest said he was presenting ‘objective facts’ as he ripped Trump for ignoring a pile of evidence he said supported the CIA’s belief that Russia did the hacking to benefit the Republican businessman.
‘You didn’t need a security clearance to figure out who benefited from malicious Russian cyber activity,’ Earnest contended.
It is the intelligence community’s belief that Russia engaged in ‘malicious cyber activity in an attempt to destabilize our political system,’ Obama’s spokesman repeatedly stated.
That was covered in an October report with the input of 17 intelligence agencies.
Obama likewise said in his interview with Noah, ‘None of this should be a big surprise. This was reported on before the election.
‘I don’t think there was any doubt among anybody in the media or among members of Congress as to who was being advantaged or disadvantaged by the political gossip that was being put out in drip, drip, drip fashion up to the election.’
Furthermore, the hackers pushed out emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, Earnest said in his Monday briefing. ‘Not from the RNC and Steve Bannon.’
The White House official rattled off a list of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, through financial deals and advisers, including former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
‘It was the president-elect who over the course of campaign indicated that he thought that President Putin was a strong leader,’ Earnest said. ‘It was the president-elect who indicated the potential that he would withdraw from some of our critically important NATO commitments.’
He said, ‘The president-elect and his campaign didn’t make any effort to obscure this.’
All of that information appeared in the news prior to the election. None of it originated with the White House, he said.
‘And its all information that is, as far as I can tell, undisputed,’ he stated.
Trump and his aides have disputed several reports that linked them to the Kremlin.
Earnest later stated that ‘there certainly should be no dispute’ about the intelligence community’s assessment after a reporter noted that Trump had already taken issue with some of his statements.
‘We had an opportunity to have that debate and that was the subject of an extensive debate, and the election didn’t turn out the way that we had hoped, and since then I have gone to great lengths to try to avoid getting into a debate with the president-elect’s team,’ he said.
The White House official said he wasn’t trying to start a fight with them now, either.
‘What I’ve stated is not an argument, but really just a presentation of objective facts about what all of you and the American public knew in advance of the election.’
He redirected his ire to Republicans in Congress, some of whom have called for legislative investigations into the hacking.
The information he referenced was known to lawmakers who backed Trump, he said.
‘How they reconcile their political strategy and their patriotism is something they’re going to have to explain.’
A Washington Post report this weekend said the CIA believes that the Kremlin instigated the attacks intending to aid the Republican presidential nominee. The October report confirmed that Russia was behind the hacking but did not conclude the goal was to elect Trump.
The president-elect told Fox News Sunday, ‘I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it.’
‘Nobody really knows, and hacking is very interesting. Once they hack, if you don’t catch them in the act you’re not going to catch them,’ he said. ‘They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place.’
Trump continued to tweet about Russian espionage this morning, saying, ‘Unless you catch “hackers” in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn’t this brought up before election?’
‘Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card.
It would be called conspiracy theory!’ he wrote.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller told reporters Monday morning that ‘this overall narrative that’s in the news right now’ about Russia ‘is an attempt to try to delegitimize President-elect Trump’s win.
That really seems to be the – what’s going on here.’
‘First after the election it was the recount nonsense. Then it was discussions of the popular vote. Now it’s the anonymous off-the-record sources with conflicting information, trying to raise other issues,’ he said.
Obama has ordered a review of the hacking from the intelligence community for his own purposes.
The report may not be made public because it will contain classified information, the White House said.
Earnest said in his Monday briefing that president believes the matter should also be investigated by Congress.
Source: Daily Mail UK