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President Obama Reveals He Threatened Putin Over Russian Hacking Attacks

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President Barack Obama asserted on Friday that a direct confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September led to Moscow ceasing its cyber interference in the U.S. election.

During a meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in China, Obama told Putin to “cut it out” and warned of “serious consequences” if the meddling continued.

“In fact, we did not see further tampering of the election process,” Obama stated at a year-end news conference. “But the leaks through Wikileaks had already occurred.”

The President’s comments came as he reflected on the broader impact of Russia’s actions on the 2016 presidential race.

Obama contended that Hillary Clinton was “treated unfairly” during the contest, expressing concerns over the media coverage she received. “I think the coverage of her and the issues was troubling,” he said.

Despite ongoing debates about Russia’s intrusion into the U.S. election, Obama emphasized that there was no “squabbling” between his administration and the incoming Trump team.

He noted that he had provided “some pretty specific suggestions” to President-elect Donald Trump about maintaining the integrity of the office. “He has listened,” Obama remarked. “I can’t say that he will end up implementing [them], but the conversations themselves have been cordial as opposed to defensive in any way.”

Obama affirmed his willingness to offer counsel to Trump during his tenure, stressing the importance of a bipartisan approach to addressing the alleged Russian hacks.

“What we have simply said are the facts,” Obama stated.

“Based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC. It is important for us to review all elements of that and make sure we are preventing that kind of interference through cyberattacks in the future.”

The President urged that the issue should not be partisan. “My hope is the President-elect is similarly going to be concerned that we don’t have foreign influence in our election process.”

However, Obama’s administration has found itself in an escalating dispute with Trump’s transition team over Moscow’s role in the election.

Simultaneously, Obama is striving to establish a productive relationship with his successor to influence future presidential decisions.

Some Democrats have criticized the White House for being slow to name Russia as the perpetrator of the hacking.

Obama and his aides argue that pressing the intelligence community for an earlier assessment might have been perceived as political interference.

In an NPR interview aired on Friday, Obama attempted to strike a balance, asserting that while it was clear Trump and his team were aware of Russia’s intentions, the issue should not become a partisan battleground.

“It requires us not to re-litigate the election, it requires us not to point fingers, it requires us to just say, here’s what happened, let’s be honest about it, and let’s not use it as a political football but let’s figure out how to prevent it from happening in the future,” Obama said.

He also advised Trump to uphold U.S. commitments to international norms, highlighting America’s values and ideals.

“I had a conversation with the President-elect about our foreign policy generally, and the importance of us making sure that in how we approach intelligence gathering and how we think about fighting terrorism and keeping the country secure … that we recognize America’s exceptionalism, our indispensability in the world in part draws from our values and our ideals,” Obama explained.

Addressing Russia’s cyber activities, Obama argued that the meddling was not an elaborate espionage scheme but was exacerbated by a hyperpartisan environment and an obsession with leaked emails.

“I’m finding it curious that everybody is suddenly acting surprised that this looked like disadvantaging Hillary Clinton because you guys wrote about it every day,” he said. “This was an obsession that dominated the news coverage.”

The President’s year-end news conference has become an annual tradition before his holiday vacation in Hawaii, providing an opportunity to address reporters’ questions on a range of issues.

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