December 17, 2016 7:44:47 am
Concerned over alleged Russian cyberattacks, outgoing US President Barack Obama has hoped that his successor Donald Trump will show equal concern to ensure that the American election process is not under a potential “foreign influence”. “My hope is that the president-elect is going to similarly be concerned with making sure that we don’t have a potential foreign influence in our election process. I don’t think any American wants that. And that shouldn’t be a source of an argument,” Obama told reporters yesterday.
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According to a CNN report, Trump had expressed concern over the cyber hacking. Obama told reporters that there was no difference in view that Russia was behind the cyber hacking.
“There hasn’t been a lot of squabbling. What we’ve simply said is the facts, which are that based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC and that as a consequence, it is important for us to review all elements of that and make sure that we are preventing that kind of interference through cyber attacks in the future. That should be a bipartisan issue, that shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” Obama said.
“Part of the challenge is that it gets caught up in the carryover from election season. And I think it is very important for us to distinguish between the politics of the election and the need for us as a country, both from a national security perspective but also in terms of the integrity of our election system and our democracy to make sure that we don’t create a political football here,” he said.
Obama hoped that when Trump takes the oath of office and is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, he has got a different set of responsibilities and considerations.
Obama, who has ordered an investigation into Russian hacking, said walking into the Oval Office has a sobering process.
“I’ve said this before. I think there is a sobering process when you walk into the Oval Office. I haven’t shared previously private conversations I’ve had with the President-elect.
“I will say that they have been cordial and in some cases have involved me making some pretty specific suggestions about how to ensure that regardless of our obvious deep disagreements about policy, maybe I can transmit some thoughts about maintaining the effectiveness, integrity, cohesion of the office, our various democratic institutions, and he has listened,” he said.
“I can’t say that he will end up implementing, but the conversations themselves have been cordial as opposed to defensive in any way. And I will always make myself available to him just as previous presidents have made themselves available to me as issues come up,” he said. Obama said he will “help” President-elect Trump with any advice, counsel, information that he can so that the billionaire tycoon, once he is sworn in, can make a decision.
“Between now and then, these are decisions that I have to make based on the consultations that I have with our military and the people who have been working this every single day,” he said.
Obama said Trump is still in transition mode from campaign to governance.
“I think he hasn’t gotten his whole team together yet. He still has campaign spokespersons sort of filling in and appearing on cable shows. And there is just a whole different attitude and vibe when you’re not in power as when you are in power,” he said.
“So rather than me sort of characterise the appropriateness or inappropriateness of what he is doing at the moment, I think what we have to see is how will the President-elect operate and how will his team operate when they’ve been fully briefed on all these issues. They have their hands on all the levers of government. They have got to start making decisions,” he asserted.
One way that Trump can approach this that would be unifying is to say that we welcome a bipartisan independent process that gives American people an assurance not only that votes are counted properly, that the elections are fair and free, but that they have learned lessons about how internet propaganda from foreign countries can be released into the political bloodstream and that they have got strategies to deal with it for the future, he said.
“The more this can be non-partisan, the better served the American people are going to be, which is why I made the point earlier and I’m going to keep on repeating this point, our vulnerability to Russia or any other foreign power is directly related to how divided, partisan, dysfunctional our political process is.That’s the thing that makes us vulnerable,” he said.
“If fake news that’s being released by some foreign government is almost identical to reports that are being issued through partisan news venues, then it’s not surprising that that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect. It doesn’t seem that far-fetched compared to some of the other stuff that folks are hearing from domestic propagandists,” Obama said.
“If we want to really reduce foreign influence on our elections, then we had (to) better think about how to make sure that our political process, our political dialogue is stronger than it has been,” Obama said.
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