Obama: Public’s “Obsession” Over Clinton Emails Diverted Attention from Russian Hacking

“None of this should be a big surprise. This was reported on before the election.”

President Barack Obama continued his media farewell tour over the weekend, appearing on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah for a wide-ranging discussion on racism, Russian hacking operations, intelligence briefings, and more.

The interview, which aired on Monday, was conducted shortly after the Washington Post reported on a secret CIA assessment that concluded with “high confidence” that the Russians intervened in the presidential election to help Donald Trump get elected.

“What is it about our political ecosystem, what is it about the state of our democracy where the leaks of what were frankly not very interesting emails that didn’t have any explosive information in them, ended up being an obsession and the fact that the Russians were doing this, was not an obsession?” Obama responded when asked about the CIA report.

“The president-elect in some of his political events specifically said to the Russians, ‘Hack Hillary’s emails!’ so we that can finally find out what’s going on and confirm our conspiracy theories,” he continued. “You had what were very clear relationships between members of the president-elect’s campaign team and Russians and a professed shared view on a bunch of issues.” 

While the president didn’t specifically mention any names, it’s likely he was referring to former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, both of whom have close ties to Russia.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate