WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama could be to blame for failing to prevent Russian influence in America’s 2016 election, some Democrats told The Daily Caller Wednesday.
Seven Democratic congressmen sent a letter to President Obama Tuesday asking for him to brief the House on “Russian efforts to undermine, interfere with, and even influence the outcome of our recent election.”
The letter went on to say: “Specifically, we are requesting a classified briefing that will provide details regarding Russian entities’ hacking of American political organizations; hacking and strategic release of emails from campaign officials; the WikiLeaks disclosures; fake news stories produced and distributed with the intent to mislead American voters; and any other Russian or Russian-related interference or involvement in our recent election.”
Two Democratic signees of the letter told The Daily Caller Wednesday that President Obama could be at fault, but they would first need to be briefed on the information they have asked for.
Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers said if Russian interference did occur, “it could be” the case that Obama is to blame. Rep. Conyers could not give a definitive answer and said he’d have to wait to see “how the investigation comes out.”
Another congressman who signed the letter struck a similar tone to Conyers when speaking to TheDC. Democratic Tennessee Rep. Bennie Thompson said, “that letter more or less is trying to find out what happened.”
He said “a lot depends on [Obama’s] answer,” before determining whether the White House is at fault. Rep. Thompson is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and added, “we all have a role in it, on the Homeland side we have a piece of the cyber jurisdiction.”
Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff told reporters Tuesday that the White House had failed to “establish any kind of deterrent” after intelligence officials blamed North Korea for hacking Sony Pictures.
“I think other nations were watching,” Schiff added. “Russia may have very well concluded that this was evidence that they could hack American institutions and there’d be little price to pay.”
Democratic Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings has really been going after the idea that Russia interfered in American elections. He signed the letter to ask Obama to brief Congress and also introduced a bill Wednesday to create a bipartisan commission to investigation foreign interference in U.S. elections.
Despite his confidence that Russia interfered in America’s elections, Cummings does not think the sitting president is at all to blame. He told TheDC, “no I don’t see it that way.”
Rep. Cummings said that Russia has good hacking operations and that is why, in his opinion, they are able to influence elections “everywhere.”