Scott Jennings, CNN contributor and former assistant to President George W. Bush, called out Barack Obama in an Op-Ed on Friday, saying that the recently posted Mueller report makes the former president look “just plain bad.”
Released Thursday, the report details the results of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigations into Russian interference during the 2016 election.
“The Mueller report flatly states that Russia began interfering in American democracy in 2014,” Jennings wrote. “Over the next couple of years, the effort blossomed into a robust attempt to interfere in our 2016 presidential election.”
Jennings also noted that the Russian interference had not been unnoticed by the Obama administration.
“In 2016, Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice told her staff to ‘stand down’ and ‘knock it off’ as they drew up plans to ‘strike back’ against the Russians,” he said.
Democrats would be on infinitely stronger ground arguing this out if just one of them would go on a media program and admit that Russia interfered under Obama, and the previous administration’s failures must be corrected in the future.
— Scott Jennings (@ScottJenningsKY) April 19, 2019
The reason that Obama went “soft” on Russia, Jennings argued, was because he did not want to upset Russian President Vladimir Putin and risk the ongoing negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
“He arguably chose to prioritize his relationship with Putin vis-à-vis Iran over pushing back against Russian election interference that had been going on for at least two years,” Jennings wrote.
That resulted in a “disastrous policy decision” on Obama’s part.
Obama’s people then put up a “smokescreen” to avoid blame being focused solely on them, Jennings wrote, and hoped to encourage others to aim at another target: then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“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 said of the Obama administration looking to deflect blame toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well.
Obama supporters claimed that due actions were taken in the matter and that he established sanctions against Russia as punishment for interference in the election. Jennings, on the other hand, argued that this was only a “toothless response to a serious incursion.”
Even Michael McFaul, Obama’s ambassador to Russia, said of the sanctions that “The punishment did not fit the crime,” according to The Guardian.
Jennings appealed for investigations into whether the Obama administration invented the entire narrative of Russian collusion to hide its obvious foreign policy blunders.
“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 Obama spectacularly failed America,” he said.
In a column in USA Today published Thursday, Jennings had already issued a call to action after Mueller’s redacted report was released by the Department of Justice on Thursday.
He summed up that call to action thus: “Donald Trump, use Mueller report as election security roadmap; Democrats, drop impeachment and work on 2020.”
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