When Former President Obama learned about how Russia was meddling with the 2016 election, he waited until after election date to tell the public—but that wasn’t his original plan. He wanted to tell the American people what was happening before the election, but wanted to do so in a bipartisan way. He drafted a bipartisan statement about Russia’s efforts and asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to sign it with him. As Politico reports, McConnell refused, and Obama knew that the lack of a bipartisan rebuke of Russia, the Kremlin would only have more ammo to use against Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden explained.
During that time, Biden said that Obama “would sit there literally after” each press briefing “and say, ‘What the hell are we going to do?’”
While speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations about Russia’s meddling, Biden told president Richard Haass that he regrets the administration’s hesitation to take action before the election.
“Had we known what we knew three weeks later, we may have done something more,” Biden said.
“Can you imagine if the president called a press conference in October, with this fella, Bannon, and company, and said, ‘Tell you what: Russians are trying to interfere in our elections and we have to do something about it,’” Biden said. “What do you think would have happened? Would things have gotten better, or would it further look like we were trying to delegitimize the electoral process, because of our opponent?”
Biden’s comments only confirm what The Atlantic has previously reported. “The effort was stymied by several Republicans who weren’t willing to cooperate, including, reportedly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,” the Atlantic’s Kaveh Waddell wrote in December 2016.
Maybe Robert Mueller should start investigating McConnell too.