“We sort of choked with Russia” – Former Obama Admin official opens up

In an exclusive interview Friday with the Washington Post, a former Obama official said the administration “sort of choked” by trying to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for attempting to interfere in the 2016 presidential election in President Trump’s favor.

Talking to the Post, he said: “It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend, I feel like we sort of choked.”
According to the Post reports, the details of the CIA’s assessment that Putin was directly involved in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the election in an effort to thwart former Secretary Hilary Clinton’s chances and help Trump, made the previous administration debate dozens of options for deterring Russia.
Former deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken told CNN Friday that the administration took significant action to prevent Russia from interfering with the electoral system. “We made massive efforts so they couldn’t do that, this led to two things: President Obama issued a very stark warning to President Putin in September at the G-20 conference in China. What we saw, or thought we saw, after that, it looked like the Russians stopped their efforts. But the damage was already done.”
Sen Jeff Merkley emphasized the point that Obama struggled with his response to Putin, finding himself in a difficult place, if he had been aggressive in his response, it would have been perceived as an attempt to influence the elections in Clinton’s favor.
It is such a dilemma, because if he had acted aggressively, in a way that he had gone public and said, ‘This is why we’re doing this,’ it would have been seized upon as an attempt to bias the election, so, there was enormous bias in the election because of the Russians, but how do you balance that out without further damaging it? It is an extremely difficult problem, he said.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Friday he wasn’t surprised by the statements of former Obama admin officials,  he told CNN’s David Gregory on “New Day;
I think President Trump was legitimately elected by people who voted for him, but this is a very serious issue about defending democracy and our country and integrity of the election system, so we have to go back to countering Russia disinformation. Congress has to work with the White House to give them tools to push back. This is a very serious issue.
Kinzinger said Republicans must take all the intelligence on Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections very seriously to protect future elections. “The reality is, in two or four years it will serve Vladimir Putin’s interest to take down the Republican Party, if we weren’t upset about it, we have no right to complain in the future.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway dismissed the reports that Russia in any way influenced the 2016 presidential election to tip in Trump’s favor .”I think it’s very important to show no nexus has been proven between what Russia or any other foreign government tried to do in the actual election result, really the only person making that case prominently is Hillary Clinton.
“You’ve got everyone saying that there is no nexus, that not a single vote was changed and we’re going to stand by that, “We know that Donald Trump won fairly and squarely 306 electoral votes. It had nothing to do with interference.”Conway added.

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