New Zealand PM postpones wedding after announcing new COVID-19 restrictions
Hannity on Russian indictments: 'Where the hell was the Obama administration?'
Fox News host Sean Hannity railed against the Obama administration on Friday after an indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller's team charged Russians with election interference efforts going back to 2014.
During a segment on his show, Hannity said that former President Obama should have done more to stop Russian efforts to influence American democracy.
"Where the hell was the Obama administration? What did they do then to stop this?" Hannity said, noting that Mueller's indictment indicated Russia's election meddling efforts went back to 2014.
Hannity referred to an NBC report last year that said the Obama administration did not do more to combat Russian influence because of a presumption that Hillary Clinton would defeat President Trump in the 2016 election.
"It sounds like the Obama administration, they were complicit in this, they dropped the ball, and there was definitely in this case more warning signs than you can shake a stick at," Hannity said.
Trump, who has regularly dismissed the Russia probe as a "witch hunt," similarly slammed Obama last summer, saying his predecessor did "nothing" to stop Russia's election meddling.
The Obama White House anxiously considered for months how to punish Russia for an influence campaign aimed at hurting Clinton and boosting Trump. The administration ultimately acted in December 2016, after Trump won the election, with Obama approving new economic sanctions on Russia and expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S.
On Friday, Mueller's team issued an indictment targeting 13 Russians connected to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian "troll farm" accused of spreading false and divisive information to Americans from fake social media accounts during the election.
The indictment charges the individuals and Russian entities of supporting Trump's campaign while trying to undermine Clinton's. It also said that some defendants, while posing as Americans, communicated with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities."
Hannity, a vocal defender of Trump, has frequently pushed back against Democrats and others who have claimed that evidence exists that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.
The Fox News personality pointed to the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) partial funding of a controversial dossier containing unverified claims about Trump's ties to Russia as another example of "collusion" committed by Democrats.
"And another example of Russian collusion is of course the Clinton bought-and-paid-for [dossier] filled with Russian and Russian government lies and propaganda," Hannity added.
"Now Hillary Clinton and the DNC, they shelled out what, over $12 million dollars to fund this salacious and of course unverified dossier that was later used with the bulk of information to get a [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant to spy on the Trump campaign," he said.