Obama blames the success of Russia's election hacks on America's political divide

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18 December, 2016

Just hours before he heads to Hawaii with his family for his last Christmas as president, Obama will hold his traditional year-end press conference at 2:15 pm (1915 GMT).

The White House has grown increasingly hostile to Mr. Trump and his team for rejecting the administration's argument that Russian Federation hacked into Democratic campaign emails and tried to help defeat Hillary Clinton. "And so how we approach an appropriate response that increases costs for them for behavior like this in the future but does not create problems for us is something that's worth taking the time to think through and figure out".

Internal emails from members of the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, were leaked online throughout the campaign.

And Obama's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, connected the dots further, saying Thursday Putin was responsible for the Russian government's actions."I don't think things happen in the Russian government of this effect without Vladimir Putin knowing about it", he told MSNBC.Trump has been under increasing pressure from both parties to acknowledge Russia's actions, despite his insistence that he doesn't believe Moscow was meddling.

He was particularly critical of President-elect Trump's allies who seem to have warmed to Putin.

Obama said some possible retaliatory measures might not be seen by the public, although they would be seen or felt by Moscow. "And how did that happen?" Team Obama was initially quite determined to guarantee a professional and peaceful transition of power to Team Trump, despite their staunch disagreements.

The president was defensive about his actions, or lack thereof, in the wake of the hacking.

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Obama also reassured the public that while Russian Federation might have attempted to interfere with the U.S. election, the voting process was still sound.

But it was the Russian interference in the campaign and the partisan debate surrounding it that clearly was on the president's mind.

"Some of it we will do in a way that they know, but not everybody will", he said.

Obama has spoken often about partisanship and cynicism, saying they're what prevent political progress. "It would have immediately become one more political scrum". He went back to that message Friday. "I wanted to make sure that everybody understood we were playing this thing straight, that we weren't trying to advantage one side or another".

"It is not something that I've been able to transfer to candidates in midterms or build a sustaining organization around", Obama said. "This was not some elaborate, complicated espionage scheme". The president pivoted on that question, and instead lobbed a critique of the media. "When you're talking about a significant cyber intrusion like this, we're talking about the highest levels of government".

President Obama said Friday that his administration did not ascribe motives to Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 campaign ahead of Election Day because he did not want to be seen as influencing the outcome in favor of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, or risk exposing the nation's electoral system to greater attack.


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