President Obama’s responses to Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee were both “graceless” and ineffective, a former top diplomat with ties to the Trump administration said Friday.
“I don’t think they will have much impact at all,” said former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton Friday morning on Fox & Friends. Bolton has been mentioned as a possible deputy secretary of state under President-elect Donald Trump.
Bolton scoffed at Obama’s response as more political than powerful.
“The Russians have walked all over the Obama administration for eight years. It’s really been a pathetic performance,” Bolton said. “So what this last burst of activity has to do is hard to say. I do think it’s intended to try and box the Trump administration in. I think it will fail. This is simply an executive order. If President Trump decides to reverse it, it’s easy enough to do.”
For sanctions to be deterrents, he said, the U.S. must “make the Russians feel pain.”
Bolton accused the Obama administration of having “politicized” intelligence gathering, and said Trump will need to investigate the case carefully because its importance transcends the 2016 election.
“We really need to get past the politics of this, because if even a piece of what is alleged about this Russian activity is true, it is utterly unacceptable,” Bolton said. “It is an attack on our constitutional system. It is not enough to say, and people should be very careful about this, to say, ‘Well, it didn’t actually have an impact on the election.’ You know, the fact that Russian efforts were incompetent or insufficient shouldn’t make us feel better.”
“If Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor and all of its bombs and torpedoes had missed, no Americans killed, no ships sunk, would we have said no harm, no foul?” Bolton said. “No, it’s the effort that they made, if this is accurate, that should trouble us. Not the fact that it failed.”
Bolton said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to not expel U.S. diplomats showed “utter contempt” for Obama.
“It says you’re going to be history in three weeks — and I’ll reserve judgment on what I’m going to do until you’re gone,” Bolton said.
He said Putin is trying to buy time until Trump takes office.
“He’s trying to maneuver to Russian’s advantage,” Bolton said.
Bolton said that Putin does not want a full-scale cyberwar with America.
“The most important concession he wants is no retaliation for the cyberattack. The sanctions are meaningless. The expulsion of diplomatic personnel is a temporary problem. What he really worries about is America going on cyberoffense in retaliation to what he apparently did during the election campaign. This is still very much in play,” Bolton said.
Bolton said Obama is interfering in diplomacy more than accomplishing anything.
“This is a graceless way for Obama to leave the White House — and virtually everything he did, with the exception of the Security Council resolution, or other things he may try to do internationally, can be reversed with the stroke of a pen or the action of Congress. He may be active in the next three weeks, but it’s really not going to have much impact,” Bolton said.
Lawmakers also said the sanctions are not enough.
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called Obama’s response a “small price for Russia to pay for its brazen attack on American democracy.”
What do you think? Scroll down to comment below.