Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, John Podesta, met with the House Intelligence Committee in a behind-closed-doors meeting on June 27 amid breaking news that Democrats and the Obama administration knew well before the election of Russia’s attempted meddling.
John Podesta, whose hacked emails led to much embarrassment for the Clinton campaign, told reporters after the meeting that President Barack Obama and “the entire administration were dealing with an unprecedented incidence of the weaponization” of Russian cyber activity.
Asked if he would be returning to meet with the House or Senate intelligence committees, Podesta said, “Hope not.” He did not answer when pressed on the Obama administration’s response to Russia’s election meddling.
President Donald Trump has said that the Obama administration didn’t do enough to counter Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump tweeted: “Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!”
The top Democrat on the House intel panel, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, has said the Obama administration should have reacted earlier and done more to counter Russian interference.
In a hearing last week, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the House Intelligence Committee that it wasn’t until Oct. 7 that he co-authored an administration statement regarding the Russian meddling.
“We were concerned by making a statement we might be, in and of itself, might be challenging the integrity of the election process,” Johnson said.
Intel committee member Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican, asked Johnson about the DNC’s decision not to turn over its email server to law enforcement or intelligence agencies, saying, “Maybe we would have known more and maybe there would have been more for you to report.”
Schiff followed up by asking Johnson: “You’re not somehow saying that justifies the Russian hacking?”