In his final press conference of 2016, President Barack Obama pretty much accused Russian President Vladimir Putin as the mind behind Moscow’s alleged attempts to meddle in the US election.
The outgoing president, who leaves office on January 20th, also used the opportunity to criticise the media for its coverage and obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails, stating plainly “I don’t think she was treated fairly during the election.”
Trump and Obama have wildly differing viewpoints on the effect of the alleged Russian hacking and its effect on the election. Trump has repeatedly downplayed the Russian hacks and questioned the motives behind the analysis of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, that Russia intervened with the sole purpose of helping Trump win the election.
“Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin,” Obama stated, side stepping naming the former KGB official as being explicitly involved directly.
His answer when asked if hacking played a significant role in Hillary Clinton losing the election was similarly diplomatic. “I’m going to let all the political pundits in this town have a long discussion about what happened in the election. It was a fascinating election.”
Obama also used the press conference to once again strongly criticise the media and the role that news organisations played, noting that US vulnerability to cyber-attacks was “directly related to how divided, partisan and dysfunctional our political process is… If fake news is being released by some foreign government that 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, because it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.”
Obama spoke before setting off for a Christmas vacation with his family in Hawaii.