Donald Trump

Trump Accuses Obama of Collusion, Obstruction Over Russia

"The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling"

President Donald Trump is accusing his predecessor, Barack Obama, of having "colluded or obstructed" in the election by not acting on Russia's meddling.

The White House didn't immediately offer any elaboration on Trump's accusation, which came in a series of Twitter posts on Monday that argued Obama's purported inaction on Russian election meddling was because the former president expected Hillary Clinton would win.

Trump appeared to be referring to a Washington Post report detailing the ways the Obama administration responded, or chose not to respond, as it learned of Russian President Vladimir Putin's alleged efforts to sway the election away from Clinton. 

Obama ordered a review of Russia's actions and imposed new sanctions after the election. Some Democrats including Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Joe Manchin, both members of intelligence committees, said Obama's administration should have talked publicly earlier about Russia's actions.

But former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Johnson told lawmakers in Congress last week that, "We were very concerned that we not be perceived as taking sides in the election, injecting ourselves into a very heated campaign.”

"The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win," Trump said, "and did not want to 'rock the boat.' He didn't 'choke,' he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good."

Trump continued: "The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia...under a magnifying glass, they have zero 'tapes' of [Trump] people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!"

White House spokesman Sean Spicer echoed Trump's comments in an off-camera press briefing Monday, asking "if [Obama] didn't take any action does that make him complicit?"

When asked if Trump is being hypocritical in claiming Obama colluded with Russia since Trump himself asked Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, Spicer said Trump "was joking at the time" when he said that.

The charge comes as a special prosecutor investigates whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia and reportedly whether Trump obstructed in that investigation. 

In January, Trump acknowledged Russia had hacked the Democratic Party but he has since referred to investigations into Russian election meddling as a hoax or witch hunt. As recently as last week, Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer said he did not know whether the president believed Russia interfered in the election. 

The new comments about presidential inaction come after fired FBI Director James Comey testified that Trump never asked him how to stop a future Russian cyber attack and Attorney General Jeff Sessions told senators he never received a classified briefing on Russian election interference, NBC News reported

Dozens of state officials told NBC News they have seen no major effort from the Trump administration to guard against future cyber attacks, even as a government security official testified that hackers linked to Russia's government tried to break into computer systems in 21 states. 

Trump also tweeted about Obama's reported reaction to Russia on Friday and over the weekend.

Obama hasn't immediately responded to Trump's claim.

Trump has also accused Obama of tapping his phones during the campaign, without giving evidence.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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