A Russian official on Friday argued that U.S. democracy was undermined by President Obama’s administration and the media, not by Moscow’s alleged hacking campaign.
Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov offered his criticism following the public release of a U.S. intelligence report that accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating an effort to “undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process.”
“The U.S. democratic process was undermined not by Russia, but by the Obama administration and mass media, which supported [Hillary] Clinton over [President-elect Donald] Trump,” Pushkov tweeted.
“The danger to democracy is within U.S. itself,” he added, arguing that Obama is responsible for Republicans’ growing trust of Putin.
Pushkov also criticized the notion that Putin caused a decline in Russo-American relations, calling such a position “complete nonsense.”
“Obama took the course to isolate and undermine Russian positions, and Putin is to blame. Compete nonsense,” he tweeted.
The Russian lawmaker also reiterated his view that U.S. intelligence agencies should not be trusted after their reports on Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction in 2003.
“[A]ll accusations against Russia are based on ‘confidence’ and assumptions. U.S. was just as confident in [Iraqi President Saddam] Hussein’s possession of WMDs,” he tweeted.
The intelligence report released to the public on Friday detailed the intelligence community’s findings, but did not provide sensitive evidence, citing the need to keep the information classified.
“While the conclusions in the report are all reflected in the classified assessment, the declassified report does not and cannot include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence and sources and methods,” the report said.
The intelligence community also expressed confidence that Moscow’s hacking campaign was conducted after the Russian government developed a “clear preference” for Trump.
“Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary [Hillary] Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” the report stated.