President Barack Obama defended his response to Russia after Wikileaks published emails from top Democrats which disrupted the elections.
“I told Russia to stop it, and indicated there will be consequences when they do it,” he said to reporters during a press conference on Friday.
Obama said that he personally challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin behind the scenes, but he let law enforcement handle the investigations and the release of information.
“In early September when I saw President Putin in China I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn’t happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out, and there were going to be some serious consequences if he didn’t,” he said.
Obama pointedly insisted that Russia did not try any other attacks on the electoral process, but he admitted that the damage was done because Wikileaks already had the emails.
Obama said he would continue working to stop cyber attacks from Russia and other countries.
“Our goal continues to be to send a clear message to Russia or others not to do this do to us because we can do stuff to you,” he said.
Obama alluded to angry Hillary Clinton supporters and other Democrats who suggested that he should have been more forceful publicly while denouncing the Russian attempts.
“I know that there have been folks out there who suggest somehow that if we went out there and made big announcements and thumped our chests about a bunch of stuff, that somehow that would potentially spook the Russians,” he said. “But keep in mind that we already have enormous numbers of sanctions against the Russians.”