Top Democrat slams Obama administration's response to Russian hacks

By Reuters/Julia Harte   June 26, 2017 | 09:04 am GMT+7
Top Democrat slams Obama administration's response to Russian hacks
U.S. former President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin

'The Obama administration should have done a lot more when it became clear that not only was Russia intervening, but it was being directed at the highest levels of the Kremlin.'

The top Democrat on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Sunday criticized the administration of former President Barack Obama for not taking earlier and tougher action against Russia for its alleged hacks aimed at swaying the Nov. 8 election for Donald Trump.

"The Obama administration should have done a lot more when it became clear that not only was Russia intervening, but it was being directed at the highest levels of the Kremlin," said Representative Adam Schiff on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

The Obama administration imposed sanctions in December on two Russian intelligence agencies over their alleged involvement in hacking political groups during the election, but those sanctions were too little, too late, Schiff said.

top-democrat-slams-obama-administrations-response-to-russian-hacks

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff speaks to reporters about the appointment of a Special Counsel in the Russia investigations on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. May 17, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Zach Gibson.

Schiff and his Senate counterpart, Dianne Feinstein, issued an unusual public statement in September condemning Russia for the alleged hacks. "We had to vet that with the intelligence community, but we took that step because we weren't succeeding in getting the administration to do it itself," Schiff said.

Trump-Putin July meeting?

A White House spokesman did not rule out a meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin when he was asked about reports the two leaders may hold talks on the sidelines of a Group of 20 meeting in Germany next month.

"To the extent that we can work with Russia to solve some problems and to cooperate, if we can find that willingness then we'd like to do it," spokesman Sean Spicer said at a news briefing.