Schiff criticizes Obama’s handling of Russia

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee criticized Barack Obama for the president’s response to intelligence reports that the Russian president was working to elect Donald Trump.

Rep. Adam Schiff, speaking on CNN, was asked about a June 23 article in the Washington Post that said Obama was told in August 2016 that Russian President Vladimir Putin was working to elect Trump.

“The [Obama] administration needed to call out Russia earlier, and needed to act to deter and punish Russia earlier and I think that was a very serious mistake,” Schiff told Dana Bash on "State of the Union." “The Obama administration should have done more when it became clear that not only was Russia intervening, but it was being directed at the highest levels of the Kremlin.”

Fear of being perceived as interfering with the U.S. election likely weighed on Obama, Schiff said. The former president’s administration was also concerned about conflating Trump’s narrative that the election was going to be rigged, he said.

“But both of those factors did not outweigh, in my view — and, I argued this at the time, did not outweigh the public’s need to know,” Schiff said. “The American people needed to know.”

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