Kellyanne Conway suggested Monday that President-elect Donald Trump may choose to scale back the Obama administration’s punitive response to Russian interference in the U.S. election.
“That is a decision for President Trump to make after he meets with his own intelligence and security team,” Conway told USA Today’s Susan Page when asked if Trump would “roll back” President Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian intelligence operatives.
The President said that action came in response to “data theft and disclosure activities [that] could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government.”
“I predict that President Trump will want to make sure that our actions are proportionate to what’s occurred based on what we know,” Conway said.
“There does seem to be a disproportionate response, a punitive one, by President Obama in the instance of the alleged Russian hacking, because he expelled 35 Russian operatives. And when China hacked 21 million records because they were just in the office of personnel management database,” his response was not nearly as strong, Conway said.
“It was basically a little bit shrug-shouldered,” she said of the Obama administration’s reaction to China’s actions.
Earlier in the interview, Conway echoed Trump’s reaction to a declassified U.S. intelligence report that found Russian president Vladimir Putin “ordered” the theft of emails from Democratic organizations and individuals.
“Let me be make clear very clear, too, what that report says, is that there were hackers that aspired to disrupt our democracy and influence our election results,” Conway said. “They attempted. They were not successful, and that’s very clear in the report.”
Page noted that, while the report found that there was no direct tampering with voting machines, it did not make any assessment as to whether leaked emails affected the outcome of the election.