Trump blasts Obama over 'Russian meddling'

US President Donald Trump speaks at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami, Florida.
US President Donald Trump speaks at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami, Florida. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump yesterday demanded an apology over the Russia investigation rocking his presidency, as he kept up a days-long attack on former president Barack Obama for his handling of intelligence about election meddling by Moscow.

In a storm of morning tweets, Mr Trump charged that his predecessor "colluded and obstructed" by failing to act after the Central Intelligence Agency informed him Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an operation to help defeat Mrs Hillary Clinton in the November vote.

"The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling," Mr Trump wrote. "With 4 months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero 'tapes' of T (Trump) people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!"

"The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win, 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," Mr Trump tweeted, alluding to a Washington Post article that laid out the timeline of Mr Obama's response to the Russian threat.

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Mr Trump's flurry of tweets and a televised interview followed the Post's publication of the behind-the-scenes account on Friday.

The paper reported that the previous administration issued four warnings to Moscow - including one Mr Obama delivered directly to Mr Putin - causing Moscow to pull back on possible plans to sabotage US voting operations.

But it said Mr Obama opted to leave countermeasures for later, for fear of being seen as interfering in an election he was confident Mrs Clinton would win.

After Mr Trump's shock victory in November, some Obama administration officials expressed regret at the lack of tougher action.

Some Democrats saw irony in Mr Trump blaming Mr Obama for indecisiveness against a Russian operation he himself has long seemed to play down. But others have joined in the criticism, including Mr Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who said Mr Obama's administration had made a "serious mistake".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2017, with the headline 'Trump blasts Obama over 'Russian meddling''. Print Edition | Subscribe