It seems that President Barack Obama is willing to take the Russian hacking narrative to the next level, including threats of retaliation.
In an interview with NPR, the president said that the United States will “take action” against Russia for actions that he said affected the “integrity” of our electoral process.
The interview, which was aired on Friday’s “Morning Edition,” had the president saber-rattling with Vladimir Putin in a major way.
“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action,” Obama said. “And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized. Some of it may not be. But Mr. Putin is aware of my feelings about this because I spoke to him directly about it.”
Obama also said, according to NBC News, that intelligence agencies would present a report on Russian hacking before he leaves office on Jan. 20, which would yield a “best guess” as to Russia’s motivations.
“But that does not, in any way, I think, detract from the basic point that everyone during the election perceived accurately — that, in fact, what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign,” Obama said.
As for whether it caused Hillary Clinton to lose, Obama said that it could have been one of the factors.
“Elections can always turn out differently,” the president said. “You never know which factors are going to make a difference. But I have no doubt that it had some impact, just based on the coverage.”
It’s rather amazing that the president is willing to take this so far on so little evidence that he’s now threatening retaliation against Russia and trying desperately to convince the American people that it was all the Russkies’ fault.
And keep in mind that this is without a clear consensus about Russia’s intentions.
RealClearPolitics reported that Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice said there was no “technical interference” from Russia during the elections. Reuters reported that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the intelligence community, does not support the CIA’s assessment that Russia intended to help Donald Trump. And Julian Assange of WikiLeaks told Fox News that his source for the DNC emails was not the Russian government.
But even with all that, the president is risking confrontation with Russia to maintain a narrative. Inauguration Day can’t come soon enough.
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