It was a mere couple months back, during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, when Barack Obama reacted to the fears of nominee Donald Trump that the election could be unduly influenced. Obama said:
I’ve never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place. No serious person out there would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections.
That was then. And this is now. And now Obama is famoulsy punishing Russia for allegedly having done precisely what he previously said was unfeasible.
Trump’s assertion came during a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, in August. In the video, which follows, Trump enumerated the reasons for his concern, which included the fact that the Democratic National Committee had colluded to make former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the nominee instead of Senator Bernie Sanders .
Today, I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election. These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior.
Obama ignored allegations of Russian hacking during the election because he thought aggressively addressing it would make him look partisan, and would decrease Clinton’s chances of winning.
But Obama’s about-face regarding Russia is not a first. During a 2012 election debate with Republican nominee Mitt Romney, Obama scoffed at the idea that Russia posed a threat to the United States. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because you know, the Cold War has been over for 20 years,” Obama said in a mocking tone.
For what it’s worth, FBI Director James Comey agreed with Obama at the time, saying that Russia probably can’t hack the U.S. election system because it’s so “clunky.”
This report, by Eric Lieberman, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.