A former special assistant to President George W. Bush said special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s Russia report “looks just plain bad” for former President Obama.
Scott Jennings, a CNN contributor, penned an op-ed on Friday denouncing Obama for allowing Russians to meddle “on his watch.”
“The Mueller report flatly states that Russia began interfering in American democracy in 2014. Over the next couple of years, the effort blossomed into a robust attempt to interfere in our 2016 presidential election. The Obama administration knew this was going on and yet did nothing," Jennings wrote.
Jennings, who previously served as a campaign adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Overnight Health Care: McConnell offering bill to raise tobacco-buying age to 21 | NC gov vetoes 'born alive' abortion bill | CMS backs off controversial abortion proposal HR 1 brings successful local, state reforms to the federal level and deserves passage MORE (R-Ky.), argued that Obama went “soft” on Russia because of the Iran nuclear deal.
“Obama wanted Putin in the deal, and to stand up to him on election interference would have, in Obama's estimation, upset that negotiation,” Jennings wrote. “This turned out to be a disastrous policy decision.”
Obama did slap sanctions on Russia after the election as punishment for its electoral interference, but Jennings said it was a “toothless response to a serious incursion.”
“I guess if I had failed to stop Russia from marching into Crimea, making a mess in Syria, and hacking our democracy I'd be looking to blame someone else, too,” Jennings wrote of Democrats’ attempts to deflect on President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE or McConnell.
Jennings also noted that Obama and then-Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderMeghan McCain to Sunny Hostin on Assange defense: 'Straight propaganda!' Hatch warns 'dangerous' idea of court packing could hurt religious liberty LeBron James: Nipsey Hussle's murder 'one of the most unfortunate events' in American history MORE declined to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2010. Assange then went in to help Russia disseminate hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee in 2016.
He called for “subsequent investigations” into how the Obama White House “failed.”
“If you consider Russian election interference a crisis for our democracy, then you cannot read the Mueller report, adding it to the available public evidence, and conclude anything other than Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFive former Obama ambassadors back Buttigieg Time for Democrats to accept reality Air Force Academy will no longer allow transgender students to enroll MORE spectacularly failed America,” Jennings wrote.
Mueller on Thursday released a more than 400-page, partially redacted report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The report detailed extensive Russian efforts to help Trump win the 2016 election, but did not find evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia.
It noted that Trump staffers expected to benefit from Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential race against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Ex-FBI official: 'Links and coordination' with Russia happen everyday Ex-FBI agent: Americans should be 'disgusted' by Russian interference in Mueller report MORE.
Mueller described how a Russian troll farm connected to the Kremlin worked to sow discord among the American public on social media.
The report also detailed how Russian intelligence officers hacked both the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta.