US President Donald Trump has appeared to acknowledge Russia's alleged effort to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election while taking advantage of a new report to criticize his predecessor Barack Obama.
Trump mentioned "election meddling by Russia" in a tweet on Saturday, slamming the Obama administration for doing "nothing" about Russia's alleged meddling in the election.
“Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?” he wrote on Twitter.
Trump has repeatedly rejected reports about Russia's attempts to interfere in last year’s presidential election. The US intelligence community claims Moscow did so in an effort to help elect Trump.
Trump has on several occasions expressed support for improving relations with the US’ former Cold War foe since he started running for president.
The comments came after The Washington Post reported Friday that Obama was informed by the CIA last August that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered a cyber campaign to help Trump win the US presidential race.
The CIA’s top-level intelligence also showed that Putin ordered the operation to damage the electoral chances of Trump’s main rival Hillary Clinton, the newspaper said.
Obama and his team struggled to figure out how to react as they were concerned that they would be seen as attempting to tip the scales in the presidential race, according to the report.
The White House viewed the information as a deep national security threat once they received it. At least four direct warnings were issued by Obama to Putin and the American spy chief to his Russian counterpart via top diplomatic channels.
After Trump's shock victory, some of the Obama administration officials strongly regretted shying from tough action.
"From national security people there was a sense of immediate introspection, of, 'Wow, did we mishandle this,” one official told the paper.
Obama, however, took modest measures at the end of December, expelling 35 Russians and adding to existing sanctions.