On the Eve of His Meeting with Putin, Trump Blames Obama for Russian Meddling

“Why didn’t they do something about it?”

Trump plays golf at his Trump Turnberry resortJane Barlow/ZUMA

Tweeting from one of his Scottish golf resorts, President Donald Trump offered his first public response to special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers charged with hacking the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton staffers’ emails, and at least one state board of elections during the 2016 campaign.

While former Obama administration officials have said their reaction could have been stronger, his administration took several steps to “do something about” Russian interference, including visiting with a bipartisan group of Capitol Hill lawmakers to propose and coordinate a response. According to the Washington Post, at that meeting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) let it be known that “he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.” 

Under Obama, the leaders of the US intelligence community did issue a statement in October 2016 blaming Russia for the DNC hack. And Obama, in a tense summit meeting before Election Day, told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the US had detected Russia’s election meddling, and demanded it stop. In the closing days of his administration, the government ordered several Russian diplomatic compounds be closed, and expelled dozens of their diplomats.

President Trump has repeatedly sown doubt about Russian involvement in the 2016 elections, and recently discussed welcoming Russia back into the Group of 7 industrialized nation summit, which it was expelled from after annexing the Ukrainian region of Crimea. Following his visit to Scotland, Trump is set to meet with Putin in Finland.