- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2017

Former Obama White House officials accused President Trump Monday of trying to distract the public from Republicans’ “terrible” health-care bill by blaming President Obama for obstructing an investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Further, Team Obama is claiming that Republicans prevented the Obama administration last year from responding more aggressively to Moscow’s interference in the election.

“They’re honestly nonsensical,” former Obama National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said of the claims of Mr. Trump and his advisers. “He’s attempting to pin on the Obama administration the very serious charges — namely collusion and obstruction — that federal investigators are examining in the context of his behavior and that of his associates.”

Mr. Price added, “This ‘I’m-not-you-are’ strategy tends to be a hallmark of elementary school, not presidential strategy.”

In a series of tweets Monday morning, Mr. Trump acknowledged Russian meddling in the election and accused Mr. Obama of ignoring it last year despite learning of the hacking in August.

“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win…” Mr. Trump tweeted. “He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good.”

Another former Obama White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mr. Trump’s attacks on Mr. Obama were “a transparent effort to distract from the terrible impact of their [Obamacare] repeal bill.”

The former Obama aide said Mr. Obama mustered a “robust” response to Moscow’s hacking of Democratic Party emails and other records.

“This situation was taken extremely seriously, as is evident by President Obama raising this issue directly with President Putin; 17 intelligence agencies issuing an extraordinary public statement; our homeland security officials working relentlessly to bolster the cyber defenses of voting infrastructure around the country; the president directing a comprehensive intelligence review, and ultimately issuing a robust response including shutting down two Russian compounds, sanctioning nine Russian entities and individuals, and ejecting 35 Russian diplomats from the country,” the official said.

Mr. Obama’s actions to close the Russian compounds, including one on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and to eject the diplomats came in late December, after Mrs. Clinton lost the election.

The unnamed former Obama official also said the previous administration worked hard to get various Republican officials involved in the response, an effort that took time and was met with resistance.

“The Obama administration’s interest in making sure the response was bipartisan wasn’t for the sake of being bipartisan,” the official said. “It was necessary because we needed the buy-in from state and local election administrators — many of whom were Republican partisans and/or skeptical of federal government. What was profoundly troubling was Senator [Mitch] McConnell’s unwillingness to help — only making matters worse.”

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