Donald Trump appears to be ready to impose sanctions due to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential elections. Not against Russia, but against President Obama and Trump’s own pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
The new narrative around the Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential election is that it was President Obama’s fault. Trump convienantly skips the parts about the moves that Obama did take in response to Russian hacking. Obama issued the following statement in December 2016, a few weeks before Trump was sworn in as president.
‘I have issued an executive order that provides additional authority for responding to certain cyber activity that seeks to interfere with or undermine our election processes and institutions, or those of our allies or partners. Using this new authority, I have sanctioned nine entities and individuals: the GRU and the FSB, two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations. In addition, the secretary of the treasury is designating two Russian individuals for using cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.’
He also leaves out Speaker Paul Ryan’s and House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to issue public statements about the hacking. Obama doing so alone would have been seen as partisan during a particularly divided and contentious period of American history; he needed the voices of GOP leaders to speak to the American people. They refused to do so.
Another omission: “all” of the hacking did not take place during the elections. Trump’s own FBI Director Christopher Wray said during a public hearing that efforts to interfere in the elections are ongoing, Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the efforts to undermine the election are already affecting the 2018 midterm elections, and several members of the intelligence community have also stated that Trump has given them no orders to address Russian hacking.
Of course, there’s also those Russian sanctions Trump fails to mention. They were approved by Congress in an almost unanimous decision, but Trump has not imposed them. Who exactly should be under investigation here?
Twitter was quick to react to Trump’s outburst on Twitter; see some of their best comments below.
Featured image via Getty/Alex Wong