- President Donald Trump again tried Saturday morning to discredit the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
- Trump blamed former President Barack Obama for not taking action against Russian hackers when they breached the Democratic National Committee servers during the election.
- Trump’s tweets come a day after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers suspected of playing a role in the DNC before the election.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump sought to again discredit the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
“The stories you hear about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration,” the president tweeted. “Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?”
Earlier, he tweeted, “…Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t the FBI take possession of it? Deep State?”
Trump’s tweets came a day after the special counsel Robert Mueller brought charges against 12 Russian military intelligence officers, accusing them of hacking, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. The indictment was a monumental development in the ongoing Russia investigation because it marks the first time Mueller has directly pointed a finger at the Russian government for its efforts to meddle in the election.
It has been widely reported that Obama tried to push a bipartisan response to Russian election interference in September 2016 but that the effort was “watered down” by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, former Obama chief of staff Denis McDonough said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden expressed the same frustration with partisan interests that got in the way of pursuing the Russian meddling, saying in January that it was “all about the political play.”
After the CIA concluded later that year that Russia had interfered in the race to help elevate Trump to the presidency, Obama responded by imposing new sanctions on Russia and expelling 35 Russian diplomats in December 2016.
Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein tapped Mueller to oversee the Russia probe in May 2017, after Trump fired FBI director James Comey. So far, the investigation has led to the indictments of four former Trump advisers, 26 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, one California man, and one London-based lawyer. Five people, including three former Trump aides, have pleaded guilty.
Friday’s indictment also adds another complication to Trump’s upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is set to take place in Helsinki on Monday.
After Rosenstein announced Mueller’s latest indictment, lawmakers called for the summit to be cancelled, but the White House dismissed their concerns.
“Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result,” White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters said in a statement. “This is consistent with what we have been saying all along.”
Trump said at a press conference in England that he would address the election meddling, but didn’t think it would be productive,saying “I don’t think you’ll have any, ‘Gee, I did it. I did it. You got me.'”
A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement the indictments were “false information” and said “obviously, the purpose of this is to spoil the atmosphere” ahead of Trump’s meeting with Putin.
Trump also continued his campaign to undermine the investigation in a press conference during his UK visit Friday, calling it “rigged.”
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