Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is claiming that with the new FBI federal indictments in the Russia probe, they prove that the Obama administration “failed to act” on intelligence that Moscow’s meddling in U.S. elections began in 2014, reports Fox News.
Nunes, now chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Friday that he and his committee have been dedicated to investigating Russian “influences” on campaigns for “many years” now and says he warned others about such threats since 2014 when he was only a rank-and-file member of the committee.
“Although the Obama administration failed to act on the committee’s warnings, it’s gratifying to see that Russian agents involved in these operations have now been identified and indicted,” said Nunes. He argued in April 2016 that the United States’ failing to predict Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions was “the biggest intelligence failure that we’ve had since 9/11.”
Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and now Fox News contributor, suggested on Saturday that the indictment shows at least two top Obama administration intelligence officials, CIA Director John Brennan and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, “weren’t on top” of the Russia threat.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on Monday for allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election. In the indictment, he details a plot to wage “information warfare” against the U.S. starting in at least 2014.
These indictments mark the first charges against Russian nationals as a part of Mueller’s investigation into whether or not President Trump and his associates colluded with Russians during the 2016 election.
The Russian nationals are accused of setting a “strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election,” according to the indictment.
The Justice Department did want to make it clear that these indictments do not allege Russian interference changed the outcome of the 2016 elections nor do they allege Americans were complicit. Nunes wants to point out though that the officials under the Obama administration let this Russian influence slip through the cracks.
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel probe.
The 13 Russians are also being accused of spreading derogatory information about the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, which combined with Rosenstein’s statement prompted a response from Trump:
Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2018
These indictments are finally the proof of months of hidden work from Mueller and his team and are the concrete revelations about Russia’s attempts to disrupt U.S. politics.
Russia’s involvement points to an assertion that former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney made in a book in 2010 that said Russia is the U.S.’s biggest geopolitical threat.
“You said Russia, not al Qaeda,” then-President Barack Obama charged during a 2012 presidential debate with Romney. “And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
It would look like Obama highly underestimated Russia’s influence and ability to quietly slip into the U.S.’s political agenda. While Obama may have been battling al Qaeda, he let the Russian’s just waltz into our political sphere.