WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — In his year end press conference, President Barack Obama vowed to take action against Russia for allegedly interfering in the November election for the White House.
A day earlier, the Obama administration suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally gave the go-ahead to hack the email accounts of Democrats, calling it a “fact” that it helped Donald Trump win the election.
The president cryptically promised to do something about it.
“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections, that we need to take action and we will, at a time and place of our own choosing,” Obama said Friday in the Brady Press Briefing Room. “Some of it may be explicit and publicized, some of it may not be. But Mr. Putin is well aware of my feelings about this because I spoke to him directly about it.”
U.S. intelligence is convinced because of how widespread the attack was and how many thousands of malicious emails were sent to government officials and agencies.
“Only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, invoking a U.S. intelligence assessment from October.
The White House also made the assertion that Trump knew about the Russian influence.
Hillary Clinton believes that Putin’s “personal beef” with her led to the cyber attack that lifted emails from the Democratic National committee and top campaign aide John Podesta, and sent them to be published online through the whistleblower website, Wikileaks.
Obama said it damaged the Democratic candidate’s campaign.
“It was disadvantaging Hillary Clinton because you guys wrote about it every day,” he added. “Every single leak about every little juicy tidbit about political gossip, even John Podesta’s risotto recipe. This was an obsession that dominated the news coverage.”
The president also shared a conversation he had with Putin, making sure the DNC hack wasn’t “compounded by potential hacking that could hamper vote counting” or election infrastructure.
“In early September, when I saw President Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn’t happen, was to talk to him directly and tell him to ‘cut it out’ and there were gonna be some serious consequences if he didn’t,” Obama said. ”
Despite the accusations, still no tangible proof has been offered by the CIA or FBI showing Russian responsibility, either from within their government or via rogue individuals. Nevertheless, the acting commander-in-chief rolled up his sleeves and talked tough.
“Our goal continues to be to send a clear message to Russia or others not to do this to us because we can do stuff to you.”