A former aide to President Obama said the former administration “followed the book” in its handling of the Russian election meddling.
During an interview on CNN’s “New Day,” Jen Psaki, former White House communications director, pushed back against the characterization that the Obama administration didn’t do anything to respond to the Russian meddling.
“It’s simply not born out by the facts…Last summer when the president was made aware of these attacks by Russia, he asked the intelligence community– to double down and put every resource toward figuring out what happened,” she said.
“And they put out an unprecedented statement in the early October of last year. That was before President Trump was elected. Now we were treating it as a cyber attack at the time.”
Psaki said the former administration didn’t factor in as much as it likely should have the “impact of propaganda.”
“The fact is, there was a lot done at the time,” she said. “There’s more that should be done at this point though.”
Psaki reiterated that at the time, the Russian meddling was treated as a cyber attack and the former administration’s focus was on what the Russians “were intending to do to our electoral systems.”
“We followed the book,” she said. “The book perhaps should be thrown out because this was an unprecedented attack and it really changes how we should approach things moving forward.”
The comments come after Trump in an interview last week accused Obama of doing “nothing” before the election regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it. But nobody wants to talk about that,” Trump said during a Fox interview that aired last week.
“The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even — before the election. And I hardly see it. It’s an amazing thing,” Trump continued.
“In other words, the question is, if he had the information, why didn’t he do something about it? He should have done something about it. But you don’t read that. It’s quite sad,” Trump said.
The Obama administration is facing fresh criticism after The Washington Post reported that Obama was slow and cautious in responding to Russian election interference.