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Top Democrat's Harsh Critique Of Obama: Should Have Confronted Russians About Election Hack

The Obama administration failed to take the appropriate actions last year, when U.S. intelligence officials discovered that Russian operatives were interfering in the presidential race, according to Rep. Adam Schiff.

Yahoo News noted that the California Democrat surprised many political observers by criticizing his party’s former president. Schiff has had a high profile in the news media in recent weeks because of his role as the top-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to tamper with the election.

During a Wednesday morning breakfast meeting with members of the media, Schiff accused the Obama administration of treating the hacking of Democratic Party officials’ emails as “essentially a penalty-free enterprise.” Several U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered the cyber attacks. WikiLeaks released the emails, which contained embarrassing information that helped derail Clinton’s presidential bid.

A reporter asked Schiff: “Do you have any regrets about how President Obama handled the publicizing of Russian interference in the election before Election Day? Should he have been more forceful in his public comments?” The lawmaker replied: “Yes and yes.” He pointed out that he and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, saw information in September that prompted them to issue a warning that Russia was engaged in a “serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election,” which “could come only from very senior levels of the Russian government.” Schiff told the reporters “it was our strong preference (the warning) not come from us,” suggesting the White House should have made such comments.

The congressman claimed the administration’s Oct. 7 written statement about the hacking “was not accompanied by any action in the sense of the imposition of sanctions.” He explained: “What I was urging at the time was that first, that the administration make the attribution (linking Russia to the cyber attacks) and second, that once they did they immediately begin discussions with Europe about another round of sanctions on Russia, because they were interfering with our elections, but they were also interfering in Europe, and what gets the Russians’ attention is economic pressure.”

Schiff said “there’s a reason why the elimination of Russia sanctions is at the top of the Russian wish list,” adding: “Anything that diminishes their economy, anything that could result in popular protests in Russia, is what concerns Putin the most. His cratering economy is probably his greatest fear.”

Yahoo News noted that the House and Senate intelligence committees have been trying to force fired national security director Michael Flynn to testify at hearings regarding the Trump-Russia scandal. The panels also plan to issue subpoenas for documents from Flynn and the companies he owns.

Source: Yahoo News
Photo: YouTube

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