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Adam Schiff: Obama Made a ‘Very Serious Mistake’ By Not Acting Against Russia Earlier

Last week, the Washington Post published a bombshell report that detailed the extent to which the Obama administration knew about Russian election meddling and how the CIA had discovered before the election that Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in that campaign.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said that President Barack Obama should have acted more aggressively before the election to call out Russia. Schiff is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

“I think the Obama administration should have done more when it learned that Russia was interfering and at the highest levels of the Kremlin,” Schiff told host Dana Bash. He added that while there was a statement released in October about the interference, the administration should have begun right away to issue sanctions against Russia.

While Schiff was critical of the former president, he also noted that President Donald Trump is in “no position to complain here” since he “openly egged” the Russian to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump has criticized Obama over the past couple of days for not acting on Russian election meddling prior to the election.

Addressing the Obama administration’s concerns at the time about how it would publicly perceived if they spoke out forcefully against the influence campaign, considering Trump’s own complaints about the election being “rigged,” Schiff said that didn’t outweigh the public’s need to know.

“I didn’t think it was enough to tell them after the election,” Schiff noted. “But rather given the seriousness of this, I think the administration needed to call out Russia earlier, needed to act to deter and punish Russia earlier and that was a very serious mistake.”

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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