President Donald Trump’s son on Monday faulted former President Barack Obama for not doing more to counter Russian interference in the 2016 election, while maintaining that the interference did not significantly help his father.
“What started off as a hoax – you know, Trump won the election because of Russia – has been proven to be nothing further from the truth,” Eric Trump said on “Fox & Friends.”
Nothing has been proven on that front: It is out of the immediate scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe to determine if Russian meddling tipped the election in Trump’s favor. Neither has Mueller concluded, one way or the other, whether the Trump campaign knowingly worked with Russia to influence the election. (Donald Trump Jr. and several other senior campaign officials have acknowledged meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, though.)
“But the Russians being bold enough to meddle has to be stopped, and I hope that gets addressed,” co-host Brian Kilmeade said.
“I agree and I wish Obama would have done that,” Trump replied. “If he knew, which he clearly did, I wish he would have stopped it. And the big question is: why did he do nothing about it?”
He might ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): the Washington Post reported in December 2016, citing “several” unnamed officials, that McConnell had raised doubts about the intelligence reports showing Russia hacked Democratic officials’ emails, and other measures, when briefed about them before the election.
McConnell, in the paper’s words, “made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared to affirm that story earlier this year. McConnell, Biden said, “wanted no part of having a bipartisan commitment saying, essentially, ‘Russia’s doing this. Stop.'”
Following the election, Obama did act: He imposed new sanctions on Russia, seized their diplomatic property, and expelled dozens of Russian diplomats from the United States. President Trump, meanwhile, still hasn’t implemented new congressionally-mandated sanctions against Russia.