Dem rep: Obama was 'hesitant' to tell Congress that Russia meddled

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) on Thursday said former President Obama chose not to disclose the Russian meddling threat to Congress or the public because he feared it would legitimize then-candidate Donald Trump's claim that the 2016 election was "rigged" against him.

"Because Donald Trump claimed during the election that the election would be rigged, the Obama administration was hesitant to acknowledge to Congress and to the American people that the Russians were interfering," Swalwell told host Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day."

Swalwell, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, added that "the government response was not adequate when Russia was attacking us."


The California lawmaker also described his efforts to pass a measure that would require the U.S. government to tell Congress if a foreign actor tried meddle in one of the nation's elections. The legislation failed to pass after not receiving Republican support.

"I'm afraid they still see any discussion of what Russia did as a delegitimizing of Donald Trump," he told CNN, while slamming his GOP colleagues for not looking ahead to protect future U.S. elections.

The Washington Post reported in June that Obama knew Russian President Vladimir Putin was attempting to influence the 2016 election results months before the heated presidential race came to a close.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE slammed Obama shortly after the report surfaced, criticizing him for failing to act more aggressively after learning about Russia's efforts to interfere in the election.

"Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!" Trump tweeted at the time.

Other Democratic lawmakers have similarly criticized Obama for his administration's response.