Obama Warns US Will Respond To Alleged Russian Meddling In Election
Dec 18 2016
The American intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has reported Russian cyber-meddling in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election in a bid to bolster support for its preferred candidate, NY real estate mogul and President-elect Donald Trump.
Amid calls on both sides of the political aisle on Capitol Hill for a full-bore congressional investigation, including assertions President Vladimir Putin was personally involved, Obama said in an interview that anytime a foreign government tries to interfere in USA elections, the nation must take action "and we will at a time and place of our own choosing".
"I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections.we need to take action and we will", Obama told NPR.
"Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people, and that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this election", she said, according to audio obtained by the New York Times adding "he is determined to score a point against me which he did". Some of it may be.explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.
And Obama's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, connected the dots further, saying Thursday Putin was responsible for the Russian government's actions."I don't think things happen in the Russian government of this outcome without Vladimir Putin knowing about it", he told MSNBC.Trump has been under increasing pressure from both parties to acknowledge Russia's actions, despite his insistence that he doesn't believe Moscow was meddling.
Earlier, White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told MSNBC: "I don't think things happen in the Russian government of this effect without Vladimir Putin knowing about it".
This final press conference is sure to include questions on a wide variety of topics, including the current threats to the Affordable Care Act, President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet picks and the ongoing investigation into allegations of Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.
The tough talk from the White House fell flat in Moscow, where Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the accusations baseless and inappropriate.
"If fake news that's being released by some foreign government is nearly identical to reports that are being issued through partisan news venues, than it's not surprising that that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect, because it doesn't seem that farfetched for some of the things people are seeing from domestic propagandists", the president said as his voice rose. Offering his own take, Obama noted that Taiwan is of utmost importance to the Chinese and Beijing could have a significant response to any change in US policy.
"That's exactly how we should have handled it", Obama said.
The Trump team has called on the White House to tone down its rhetoric for the good of the nation.
"I do think it's worth us reflecting how it is that a presidential election of such importance, of such moment, with so many big issues at stake and such a contrast between the candidates, came to be dominated by a bunch of these leaks?"
The president has promised a "proportional" yet unspecified response to the hacking of the Democratic Party and Clinton's campaign chairman. Suggesting his directive to Putin had been effective, Obama said the U.S.
"Having been the former head of the KGB, does that surprise you?"
Peskov also warned that Obama's threat to "retaliate" to the alleged Russian hack is "against both American and global law", hinting at open-ended escalation should Obama take the podium today at 2:15pm to officially launch cyberwar against Russia.