Chuck Todd spoke with former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough this morning and pressed him on whether the Obama administration did enough to combat Russian interference.
One anonymous Obama administration official told The Washington Post last year, “It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend. I feel like we sort of choked.”
So Todd directly asked McDonough, “Looking back, did you choke?”
McDonough went through the actions they took in response to Russian actions, but Todd brought up what Obama said in December 2016 about how “we did not see further tampering of the election process” after talking to Putin directly.
“Based on the Mueller indictment of the Internet Research Agency, we now know that that is not true,” Todd said, bringing up what the “troll farms” were up to after the election. “Were these things you missed?”
McDonough reiterated that they “had great fear that we needed to take significant steps to stop them from doing it,” and he knocked the “lack of urgency” from Republicans.
Todd asked at one point, “If Putin’s goal was to elect Donald Trump, then how is it that what you did in 2016 was the right call?”
McDonough hesitated to say he agrees with that premise, telling Todd Putin wanted to “sow confusion and lack of confidence in our system, and then he had a view on the outcome is my guess.”
As for the Republican response he referenced, McDonough said rather bluntly that Mitch McConnell got the warning about Russian meddling “watered down.”
Watch above, via NBC.
[image via screengrab]
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