With the Mueller report still making waves in the political sphere, talking heads and distinguished members of the chattering class are debating the implications of the conclusions reached by the special counsel. But there is more to the report than collusion and obstruction, a key point that many in the establishment media largely are ignoring.
When the news broke about Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election, the progressive media went into mad-scramble overdrive to run cover for former President Barack Obama and place the focus on newly elected President Donald Trump. In the wake of the Mueller report’s release, we all know how that turned out. So what did the special counsel’s document reveal about the former president?
Obama Administration Drops the Ball
According to the report, the Kremlin began its efforts to undermine American democracy in 2014 and later evolved into meddling in the 2016 presidential election. So what did the Obama administration do to frustrate the Russian government’s operation? Apparently, not much.
When government officials developed strategies to counter Russia’s efforts, then National Security Adviser Susan Rice instructed her staff to “stand down” and “knock it off.” Even after the Kremlin’s skulduggery was made known, Obama’s administration did little to deter Russia’s actions, imposing milquetoast sanctions that lacked the teeth necessary to discourage the Kremlin’s offensive. The Brookings Institute, not exactly a bastion for conservative thought, noted:
“Even the imposition of sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine was accompanied by so much propitiation and restraint elsewhere that it didn’t deter Russia from subsequent aggression, including the risky 2016 influence operation in the United States. Obama, confident that history was on America’s side, for the duration of his time in office underestimated the damaging impact Russia could achieve through asymmetric means.”
But perhaps people shouldn’t be too hard on Obama. In the end, his administration did attempt to do something about Russia’s interference: It targeted the Trump campaign and began surveillance of its members. Attorney General William Barr recently told Congress that he believed “spying did occur” and intends to look into the matter to determine whether or not the FBI had sufficient evidence to justify the Russia investigation.
Was the Russia Probe a Cover-Up?
So that leads to an important question: Why didn’t the Obama administration take more robust actions against the Russian government intentions to meddle in America’s elections? Theories abound on the subject. Some have suggested that Obama wanted the Kremlin’s support for the Iran nuclear deal and sought to avoid sparking tensions with Moscow. Scott Jennings, a former Bush official and CNN contributor, made this argument in an op-ed.
“Obama wanted Putin in the deal, and to stand up to him on election interference would have, in Obama’s estimation, upset that negotiation,” he wrote. “This turned out to be a disastrous policy decision.”
This theory could have some credibility: Obama’s administration also halted investigations into Hezbollah’s rapidly growing drug-trafficking empire for the same reason.
Others have speculated that the former president failed to take action against Moscow because he wished to sabotage the Trump campaign. Fox News’ Brett Velicovich noted that the previous administration did not provide Trump’s or Clinton’s campaign with adequate warning about potential Russian attempts to meddle in the election.
“If President Obama really had concerns that Russia might be working with members of the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, then it is curious that his administration failed to coordinate with candidate Trump to investigate the FBI’s suspicions and take any steps that might be necessary to rid his campaign of Russian saboteurs. They certainly had ample opportunity to do so during the regular, high-level intelligence briefings that presidential nominees receive during the campaign as part of the presidential transition process.”
The public may never know the Obama administration’s true intentions for its handling of the Russian interference problem. It is also possible that it was simple incompetence; it might be appropriate here to apply Hanlon’s razor, which instructs us to “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
It’s not as if lack of competence isn’t a keystone of the former president’s administration. But regardless, this story is yet another example of how the legacy media still cover for their progressive messiah and another omen of what the nation can expect if a Democrat manages to unseat President Trump in 2020.
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