President Barack Obama sat down for an interview with Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” Monday night after news broke that the CIA had found that Russia intervened in the US presidential election to help President-elect Donald Trump.
Noah didn’t wait to bring up the news. The host asked Obama why he recently asked for a full review of Russia’s hacking and its role in the election to be done before Trump takes office.
“When the DNC got hacked, we immediatley assigned our intelligence community, our law enforcement, to investigate what had happened,” Obama said.
The White House announced in October that Russia had been involved in the leaking of DNC emails leading up to the election.
“This was not a secret,” Obama said.
He added that the reason he called for the recent full review is to “gather all the threads” and to help lawmakers “find ways to prevent this kind of interference from having an impact on elections in the future.”
Obama went on to put blame for the emails’ damage at least partly on media and the political world here in the US, for whom the hacked emails became an “obsession.”
“I think what everybody has to reflect on is what is it about our political eco-system, what is it about the state of our democracy where the leaks of what were frankly not-very-interesting emails that didn’t have any explosive information in them, ended up being an obsession,” Obama said. “And the fact that the Russians were doing this was not an obsession.”
Trump for his past, has dismissed the CIA reporting about Russia’s interference. His team said of the intelligence in a statement, “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”
Obama mentioned how Trump had previously called for Russia to “find” missing emails related to Hillary Clinton.
“The real question that I think we all have to reflect on is this: What’s happened to our political system where some emails that were hacked and released ended up being the overwhelming story, and the constant source of coverage, breathless coverage that was depicted as somehow damning in all sorts of ways, when the truth of the matter was it was fairly routine stuff,” Obama said. “And the reason I saw that is, going forward, I worry that we don’t spend enough time on self-reflection about how our democracy’s working, how our campaign’s working, and how all of us have to do a better job at talking about what’s at stake. These emails got a lot more attention than any policy that was being debated during the campaign.”
Watch the interview below:
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