The establishment media went nuts when President Trump said Thursday in Poland that countries other than Russia may have been involved with meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
In a vacuum, the president saying that he thinks “Russia” meddled in the election, but “it could have been others” too would not cause so much controversy. But with a media so heavily invested in the Russia-Trump narrative leading to multiple misreports, retractions, and resignations, it makes sense that this is what the media would direct its laser focus on.
What they are ignoring, however, is the president’s broader point of questioning then-President Obama’s role as commander in chief during the alleged Russian meddling, which CNN curiously labeled as Trump “blaming” Obama.
From another, perhaps more sober viewpoint, Trump posed a legitimate question for those genuinely concerned about Russian hacking:
Why did [President Obama] do nothing about it? He was told it was Russia by the CIA … and he did nothing about it… They said he choked. I don’t think he choked… I think what happened was he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election and he said let’s not do anything about it. Had he thought the other way, he would have done something about it.”
The president makes a serious allegation about a former president ignoring cyber security breaches — instead the media ignores and obfuscates by breathlessly reporting his claims that others may have been involved as well. The president’s allegation is not without merit, but Obama’s culpability in the Russian hacking is a question seldom asked, let alone answered.
A Washington Post report revealed that the CIA briefed the Obama White House as early as August 2016 that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the interference of the 2016 election with “the express purpose of helping elect Donald Trump.” It was not until Oct. 7 that Obama revealed Russia was behind the hacking, and Putin’s role in directly ordering it was not released until December, an entire month after the election.
After Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, the Obama camp’s buyer’s remorse kicked in, with one anonymous senior official saying that they “sort of choked.” Another senior official remarked that “[t]he White House was mortified and shocked” after Trump won the election, and a sense of “wow, did we mishandle this” overtook the national security team.
FactCheck.org called President Trump’s claim Obama did nothing “misleading” Thursday, but the conclusion flies in the face of comments from former high ranking intelligence officials in the Obama Administration.
In May, former acting CIA director under Obama, Micheal Morell, was “struck” that the administration was concerned enough about hacking to ask the Russians to “stop” but “did nothing” after the warning had fallen on deaf ears. California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said the inaction left him with a sense of “cognitive dissonance.”
Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, in a recent TV appearance, said that the Obama administration “did think Hillary would win” and that they did not want to be seen as “putting their thumb on the scale.” The Washington Post’s, Aaron Blake, concludes that if Hillary Clinton had won the election Russian meddling would not be a “big deal today,” but since Trump pulled off a narrow upset, “any number of factors could have tipped the scales.” These comments can lead one to conclude that the Trump-Russia probe is little more than sour grapes in political circles and media outlets, and an attempt to act after the fact.
If Obama had thought Trump was going to win, would that have forced him to protect the country against cyberattacks. Was his inaction to intelligence reports of Russian meddling in the election politically motivated, and perhaps left our election processes vulnerable to foreign adversaries?
These are questions that demand answers from former Obama administration officials. But with an establishment media singularly focused on a narrative rather than journalistic integrity and duty, they are questions that will most likely remain unanswered.
(Editor’s note: This post has been updated to attribute a quote to Rep. Adam Schiff.)