NEW YORK – President Donald Trump has accused his predecessor Barack Obama of inaction over alleged Russian interference in the US election in 2016.
Mr Trump said Mr Obama had learned well before the 8 November poll about the accusations and “did nothing”.
His comments followed an article in the Washington Post which said that Mr Obama learned last August of President Vladimir Putin’s “direct involvement”.
The alleged meddling is the subject of high-level investigations in the US.
President Putin has repeatedly denied any Russian interference into the presidential election.
The Washington Post article says Mr Obama was told early last August by sources deep within the Russian government that Mr Putin was directly involved in a cyber campaign to disrupt the election, injure Hillary Clinton and aid a Trump victory.
The Post said Mr Obama secretly debated dozens of options to punish Russia but in the end settled on what it called symbolic measures – the expulsion of 35 diplomats and closure of two Russian compounds. They came in late December, well after the election.
The Post reported that Mr Obama was concerned he might himself be seen as trying to manipulate the election.
The paper quoted a former administration official as saying: “From national security people there was a sense of immediate introspection, of, ‘Wow, did we mishandle this’.”