An ex-aide under former President George W. Bush’s administration is blasting former President Barack Obama for allegedly going “soft” on Russia when it comes to election meddling while he was president following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final redacted report revealing Russian interference.
“One thing cannot be denied: Former President Barack Obama looks just plain bad,” Scott Jennings, former special assistant to Bush and former campaign adviser to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), wrote in a CNN op-ed published on Friday.
“On his watch, the Russians meddled in our democracy while his administration did nothing about it,” he added.
Mueller’s report, which was released to the public early Thursday, revealed how the investigation “identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign” but noted that “the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges.”
It continued to say that investigators “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
However, according to the report, the Russian government meddling began in 2014, which has Obama facing heat from several people for his alleged lack of attempts to thwart Russian interference.
As Jennings wrote:
The Mueller report flatly states that Russia began interfering in American democracy in 2014. Over the next couple of years, the effort blossomed into a robust attempt to interfere in our 2016 presidential election. The Obama administration knew this was going on and yet did nothing.
[…] Why did Obama go soft on Russia? My opinion is that it was because he was singularly focused on the nuclear deal with Iran. Obama wanted Putin in the deal, and to stand up to him on election interference would have, in Obama’s estimation, upset that negotiation. This turned out to be a disastrous policy decision.
The former Bush aide noted now that Mueller’s conclusion “popped that balloon” in concluding no connection between President Donald Trump and Russia’s meddling, the question remains of “why this collusion narrative was invented in the first place.”
“[Obama] arguably chose to prioritize his relationship with Putin vis-à-vis Iran over pushing back against Russian election interference that had been going on for at least two years,” Jennings said.
The ex-Bush special assistant isn’t the only one calling out Obama. As IJR Red reported, the Republican National Committee slammed the former president for doing “absolutely nothing.”
Even Trump jumped in on the criticism, tweeting Thursday evening that Obama was “told about [Russian interference] and did nothing,” as IJR Red previously noted.