President Barack Obama called upon President-elect Donald Trump to support a bipartisan, independent investigation in foreign influence in the U.S. election.
“One way I do believe that the President-elect can approach this that would be unifying is to say that, we welcome a bipartisan, independent, process that gives the American people an assurance not only that votes are counted properly, that the elections are fair and free, but that we have learned lessons about how internet propaganda from foreign countries can be released into the political bloodstream and that we got strategies to deal with it for the future,” President Obama said at his end-of-the-year press conference Friday. “The more this can be non-partisan, the better served the American people are going to be.”
The comments came after questions about whether the President would say Vladimir Putin had authorized the cyberattacks during the presidential campaign and whether Trump’s tweets since the election were emboldening Russia. On Putin’s involvement, Obama said he would wait for the report he ordered looking into the hacks to pull the pieces of evidence together, but added a “larger point” that “not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin.”
Obama was willing to give Trump some benefit of the doubt by pointing out that he was still transitioning into his new role of governing and wielding power.
“What we have to see is how will the President-elect operate and how will his team operate when they’ve been fully briefed on all these issues and they have their hands on all the levels of government and that have to start to making decisions,” Obama said, before issuing his call that Trump join other lawmakers in calling for a probe on the foreign interference into the election.
Earlier in the press conference he said that “there hasn’t been a lot of squabbling,” between the Trump transition team and the White House.
“What we’ve simply said is the facts which are based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC, and that as a consequence, it is important for us to review all elements of that and make sure that we are preventing that kind of interference through cyber attacks in the future,” Obama said. “That should be a bipartisan issue. That shouldn’t be a partisan issue. And my hope is that the President-elect is going to similarly be concerned with making sure that we don’t have potential foreign influence in our election process.”