President Donald Trump is questioning in a tweet and interview why President Barack Obama didn't do more to stop Russia's meddling in last year's presidential election, an apparent acknowledgment of a foreign intrusion he has dismissed or downplayed.
The latest revelations center on a critical piece of evidence that led US intelligence agencies to that conclusion. But he held back, and didn't go public with his personal understanding of what was going on, because he figured anything he said would be interpreted as created to help his intended successor Hillary Clinton.
The Trump administration has taken little meaningful action to prevent Russian hacking, leaking and disruption in the next national election in 2018, despite warnings from intelligence officials that it will happen again, officials and experts told NBC News. At least 35 diplomats were expelled.
Following Trump's shock win, the White House team was said to be "mortified and shocked", according to a former administration official.
Fox News host Sean Hannity has been pushing an elaborate conspiracy theory that involves the Central Intelligence Agency framing Russian Federation for cyberattacks. "But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people". Trump received a classified briefing on the assessment in January before the inauguration but denied Russia's effort had any effects on the outcome of the election. Trump made claims at the time that the election was "rigged".
A day earlier, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the House intelligence committee that in the late summer and into the fall, he was very concerned about the meddling in state election systems and that the department encouraged states to seek assistance from DHS.
The Post also revealed new details about the Obama administration's response to the Russian interference campaign prior to the election.
CBS, which claims it was aware of the Central Intelligence Agency report that pointed to Putin as having approved the plan to meddle in the USA election, reported Washington has placed digital bombs that were implanted in Russian networks.
Tony Blinken, Obama's former deputy national security adviser, said Friday that the administration took significant action to prevent Russian Federation from interfering with the electoral system itself. 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. McCain said those measures fell far short of the mark - both under Obama and thus far in Trump's administration.
The White House, the CIA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.style="text-align: center;"