“I feel like we sort of choked.” That is the killer quote in an extraordinary Washington Post investigation into how Barack Obama responded to intelligence last year that Russia was running a sophisticated influence operation against the 2016 elections.
It’s attributed to a former senior Obama administration official, but it captures the view of many Democrats and now many opportunistic Republicans. President Donald Trump got in on the action on Monday morning when he tweeted: “The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling.”
It’s tempting to grant Trump this point, despite Trump’s own insistence during his campaign that there was no evidence Russia meddled in the election at all. Obama was the commander-in-chief when Moscow hatched this operation. It was his duty to defend our election.
But this isn’t entirely fair. To start, by the time the CIA had gathered the intelligence in August about how President Vladimir Putin himself was trying to elect Trump over Hillary Clinton, the servers of the Democratic National Committee and other leading Democrats were already breached.