In an appearance on Fox News on Friday, a top adviser to former Democrat Sen. John Kerry pointed out the obvious: The Obama administration didn’t do enough to stop Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Mary Anne Marsh, who was a senior adviser to the Massachusetts stalwart and 2004 Democrat standard-bearer, made the remarks as she addressed the revelation in Mueller’s report that the Russians were able to hack into a county government’s system in Florida.
According to the report, the GRU, a Russian foreign intelligence agency, was able to access the system via so-called “spearphishing” emails sent to county election officials in the state.
“We understand the FBI believes that this operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government,” the report read.
Of course, that happened during the Obama years, and questions remain over how much the former administration did to prevent Russian election interference.
While most Democrats weren’t holding Obama’s feet to the fire, Marsh was a definite exception.
Here’s the video; the pertinent part begins at 3:00:
“I will say this: I don’t believe the Obama team and President Obama did enough,” she said.
The Obama administration attempted to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, to sign onto a statement in September 2016 saying that Russia was interfering in the election, but he refused. To Marsh, this wasn’t an excuse for the lack of security.
“Just because Mitch McConnell refused to sign into a statement — ultimately, any president is the commander in chief and you have to protect our country and our national security,” she said.
“To have Russia, a foreign country, interfere in our election, possibly hacking machines, is unacceptable. You can’t care what anybody thinks about [why] you’re doing it.”
Keep in mind that Marsh isn’t exactly some convert to the GOP’s position on this.
As you can see at the beginning of the clip, she seems to be open to the idea of impeachment — something that few Democrats are in the wake of the Mueller report.
However, her take on the Obama administration’s role in combatting Russian interference in the 2016 election seems to be in line with that of President Trump’s:
Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019
“Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected,” he tweeted Thursday.
This isn’t inaccurate. As the Republican National Committee pointed out on its website in the wake of the Mueller report, the Obama administration had a chance to go after the Russians and declined for political reasons.
“In July 2016, CIA Director John Brennan arranged an interagency sharing of information with top officials concerning the Russian election interference plans. By that time, officials in the Obama admin had ‘no question’ that Russian state-sponsored hackings were behind the cyberattacks and release of stolen Democrat materials,” Steve Guest, the GOP’s rapid response director, wrote.
“Obama chose not to ‘strike back’ because he wanted Russia to cooperate with the Iranian Nuclear deal.
“Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice even told two of her subordinates to ‘stand down’ and ‘knock it off’ in response to Russia meddling.”
Something could have been done. It wasn’t. It didn’t affect the vote totals, and it’s certainly not Donald Trump’s fault.
Whether officials in the former Obama administration want to own up to their own failings is another issue entirely.
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