President Barack Obama said on Sunday that the U.S. intelligence report released two days ago from America’s top 3 intelligence agencies is very clear that Russia sought to interfere with the U.S. election process.
Speaking on ABC’s This Week with host George Stephanopoulos, President Obama said that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign during the U.S. election and the Russians had a clear preference for Trump.
“Number one, the Russians sought to interfere with the election process…. that the cyber hacking that took place by the Russians was part of that campaign, and that they had a clear preference in terms of outcomes” Obama said on ABC’s This Week.
President Obama said that sometimes the U.S. intelligence communities are cautious and uncertain but this time the intelligence is more credible and reliable.
“The….this time they’ve got high confidence, and having seen some of the underlying sources and information that they’re basing this on I stand fully behind the… the report” President Obama said.
Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Republican Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) said he has confidence in the U.S. intelligence leaders about Russian meddling, even if the’ve made past intelligence mistakes.
“I believe our intelligence leaders, General Clapper and Admiral Rogers who testified before the Armed Services Committee are credible people and well respected. General Clapper I think had 53 years of experience in the intelligence business. And yes, intelligence authorities have made mistakes in the past and have been wrong in the past. But what they’re saying is there’s a long history of Russian attempts to affect the outcome of our election” Senator McCain said on Meet the Press.
Senator McCain said that he wants to get to the “bottom of it” and to develop a new strategy in this new form of warfare that has the ability to harm our economy, elections, and national security.
“It isn’t just elections that they are hacking into. It is across the board, including military secrets that we have, including the ability to shut down satellites, including the ability to shut down power plants. I mean, they can do grave danger to the United States of America. We never tried to do anything like that” McCain said.
Senator McCain recently returned from a trip to Ukraine and said on Sunday that Russia slaughtered Ukrainians and dismembered a country, in reference to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and past aggressive actions in southeast Ukraine.
“And I don’t think they are through. And they’ve done so in violation of all international norms of behavior. And they’re putting strains on the post-World War II new world order, the likes of which we’ve never seen” McCain added.
McCain explained that he wants to move forward with the Armed Services Committee, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence Committee and supports adding more sanctions on Russia.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) echoed that hawkish sentiment and admitted on NBC’S Meet the Press that he also favors sanctions on Russia for meddling in the U.S. election and wants to add more U.S. military training presence in the Baltics, Ukraine, and Georgia.
“You can’t go on with your life as a democracy when a foreign entity is trying to compromise the election process.”
Senator Graham emphasized that President-elect Trump needs to show leadership and said it would be unnerving to him if he is still unsure as to what the Russians did because the evidence is overwhelming.
“All I’m asking him is to acknowledge that Russia interfered, and push back. It could be Iran next time. It could be China. It was Democrats today. It could be Republicans in the next election” Senator Graham said.
Advocating for sanctions against Russia, Senator Graham said that he wants to make Russia “pay a price” for interfering in the U.S. election so it will deter others in the future.
“Because when one party is compromised, all of us are compromised. And here’s what I’m going to do with Senator McCain. We’re going to introduce sanctions that are bipartisan, that go beyond the sanctions we have today against Russia, that will hit them in the financial sector and the energy sector where they’re the weakest” Senator Graham stated on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Senator Graham called for a “one- two punch” against Russia consisting of more sanctions to hit Putin harder and to help the Baltic States, Ukraine, and Georgia more.
“We want more trainers on the ground, 365 days a year, a permanent U.S. military training presence in the Baltics, Ukraine, and Georgia” Senator Graham said.
President-elect Trump has been reluctant to accept the conclusions reached from U.S. intelligence communities about Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
Instead he’s blamed the Democratic National Committee for having lax security on Twitter, claimed that only “fools” or “stupid people” would think its bad having a relationship with Russia, and added Pollyannaish tweets about working with Russia together to solve world problems.
both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2017
On Sunday President-elect Trump retweeted a 2 day old tweet from Republican campign manager Kellyanne Conway that casts doubt about the motivation of the intelligence community and suggests intelligence officials have injected politics into their intelligence about Russian hacking.
“We certainly don’t want intelligence interfering with politics and we don’t want politics interfering with intelligence” Conway tweeted.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 7, 2017
Trump’s soon to be White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on Fox News Sunday that Trump isn’t denying that “entities in Russia” were behind the hacking campaign and said he expressed his tremendous respect for the U.S. intelligence community but he also fell short in acknowledging that Russia’s government led by Russian President Vladimir Putin were behind the cyber attacks during the U.S. election.
After meeting with U.S. intelligence leaders on Friday, President-elect Trump released the following statement:
“While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations, including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election, including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.”
President Obama said during his ABC interview on Sunday said that he underestimated the degree to which it is possible for misinformation from cyber hacking to have an impact on our open societies in a period when there’s more widespread skepticism towards mainstream media.
“The issue here is you have I think the… the clear example of how, if we’re not vigilant foreign countries can have an impact on the political debate in the United States in ways that might not have been true 10, 20, 30 years ago in….in part because of the way news is transmitted and in part because so many people are skeptical of mainstream news organizations that…. everything’s true and everything’s false. You know nothing…. nothing is….is settled. Everything is contested” Obama said on ABC’s This Week.
President elect Donald Trump has been highly critical of the media and journalists.
Throughout his political campaign, Trump mocked journalists, including a disabled journalist, and frequently calls the media “dishonest.”
Today on Twitter Trump voiced criticism about “dishonest media” at NBC’s Meet The Press concerning a recent interview with Kellyanne Conway because they cut 9 out of 10 minutes.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2017
President elect Trump came across as a micromanager of the media and more like his larger than life character in the reality show Apprentice than someone who is about to become leader of the free world in a pluralistic society.
Here is my latest YouTube video where I added some more commentary about these topics: