Obama Told Putin To "Cut It Out" On Hacking

In a roughly 20 minute answer to the pre-vetted and scripted question by an AP reporter, in which Obama was asked what his response to "Russian hacking" would be, Obama said there may be a response however - taking a page of the Trump playbook - he would not reveal what it will be, "just like Putin will not admit he hacked the election." The outgoing president hinted at “offensive capabilities” the U.S. possesses, but spoke broadly about his approach to preventing “some sort of cyber arms race.” His goal, the president said, was to put “some guard rails around the behavior of nations and states and our adversaries so they understand that whatever they do to us we can potentially do to them.”

Asked if Clinton lost because of the hacking, Obama demurred. “I'm going to let all the political pundits in this town have a long discussion about what happened in the election,” he said. But he took a shot at the media, which he has faulted for focusing too much on trivia and pseudo-scandals. “I don't think she was treated fairly during the election. I think the coverage of her and the issues was troubling.” That said, he suggested Hillary's loss was due to the press obsession "with Podesta's risotto recipe", in its daily coverage of the Wikileaks revelations (when in fact, the ratio of coverage of Trump "sex scandals" to Wikileaks emails was about 95% to 5%), lambasting the media for their coverage of the campaign (ignoring that 99% of all newspapers endorsed Hillary).

Obama also explained why he "hadn’t been more vocal" in calling out Russian hacking before the Nov. 8 election. “In this hyper-partisan atmosphere,” he said, noting the charged political environment surrounding the election, “I wanted to make everybody understood we were playing this thing straight.”

Asked if he was letting Russian President Vladimir Putin “get away with” hacking the U.S. election, and whether the issue had overshadowed the presidential transition, Obama pledged continued cooperation with Trump. “There hasn’t been a lot of squabbling. What we’ve said is the facts,” he said, pointing to the intelligence community’s finding that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee. “That shouldn’t be a partisan argument,” he said and finally said that he had taken every possible measure, by telling Putin "to cut it out" on hacking.


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