Dem senators urged Obama to take action on Russian Federation before election

The correspondence, reported on by BuzzFeed Friday, was part of a release of government records sought by Operation 45, a transparency project, in the course of Freedom of Information Act litigation filed against several US intelligence agencies. Trump wrote. "Focus on them, not T!"

They couldn't do anything about embarrassing WikiLeaks revelations from hacked Clinton emails. "Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russian Federation a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it", Trump said in an excerpt of his interview that was released Friday.

"It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend", one unnamed former senior Obama administration official "involved in White House deliberations on Russia" told the Post, referring to the Obama administration's response to the hacking campaign.

Advisers believe the president and administration have some accomplishments they can point to and don't want attention to the Russian Federation probe to distract from that. During a meeting of world leaders in China, Obama confronted Putin face to face, reportedly telling him "we knew what he was doing and [he] better stop or else", per a senior WH aide. He also, according to the Post, authorized a plan to place cyberattack implants in the systems of critical Russian infrastructure.

Ultimately, Obama approved only modest punitive measures: the expulsion of a few dozen diplomats, the closure of two Russian compounds, and narrowly targeted economic sanctions that some who designed them described as largely symbolic, the Post said.

Instead, and only during the transition after Trump's electoral victory, the Obama administration ejected 35 Russian diplomats from the United States, issued a series of warnings, and brought in sanctions against Russia that many saw as merely symbolic.

"He had a specific goal to defeat (Democratic nominee) Hillary Clinton and that explains the huge coordinated effort from the botnets to the trolls", Merkley added.

President Donald Trump's senior staff, energized by recent Republican wins in SC and Georgia, urged the president not to talk about the Russian Federation investigation during his Wednesday night speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, one top official told NBC News.

Officials in the Post article suggested Obama struggled to find a way to respond to Putin without being so aggressive that he would be perceived as trying to influence the election in Clinton's favor - a point Merkley echoed Friday. Without any response from the White house, Russian Federation continued its hacking campaign.

Trump also claimed Thursday that Johnson "is latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia". Democrats pressed to make the information public, while Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would bolster Russia's aim of undermining confidence in the system.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Friday that he didn't find the Post report shocking. Obama was anxious about being seen as attempting to influence the election.

  • Carolyn Briggs