President Obama is fighting back against charges that his administration did not fully appreciate Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s efforts to affect the Nov. 8 election.
According to MSN, Obama was defending himself following a report by the national-intelligence director that the Russian government carried out an “influence campaign” to help Donald Trump win. Putin allegedly ordered the hacking of emails at the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters, and the release of the documents to WikiLeaks.
“I don’t think I underestimated (Putin),” Obama told “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos on ABC. “But I think that I underestimated the degree to which, in this new information age, it is possible for misinformation, for cyber hacking and so forth, to have an impact on our open societies, our open systems, to insinuate themselves into our democratic practices in ways that I think are accelerating.”
The president said he called for the investigation because “we understand this is something that Putin has been doing for quite some time in Europe, initially in the former satellite states where there are a lot of Russian speakers, but increasingly in Western democracies.”
Obama, referring to Trump’s expressed fondness for the Russian president, told Stephanopoulos: “We have to remind ourselves we’re on the same team. Vladimir Putin’s not on our team. If we get to a point where people in this country feel more affinity with a leader who is an adversary and view the United States and our way of life as a threat to him, then we’re gonna have bigger problems than just cyber hacking.”