Obama says he told Vladimir Putin to "cut it out" with the election hacks
President Barack Obama addressed the Russian hacking of the U.S. election, telling reporters Friday afternoon at his year-end press conference that he personally told Russian President Vladimir Putin to "cut it out" with the cyberattacks that roiled the presidential race.
Obama said he had the exchange with Putin in September, and that after the exchange, "We did not see further tampering of the election process."
While Obama chastised Russia for the attacks, he also placed blame on the media for its coverage of the information the Russians allegedly stole from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta, saying "everybody's suddenly acting surprised" that it hurt Clinton, when the media covered it like an "obsession."
"You guys wrote about it every day, every single week about every single tidbit of political gossip, including John Podesta's risotto recipe," Obama said, adding that the media carried out what the Russians were hoping for.
"This was not some elaborate complicated espionage scheme," Obama said. "They (Russia) hacked into some Democratic Party emails that contained pretty routine stuff, some of it embarrassing or uncomfortable because I suspect that if any of us got our emails hacked into there would be stuff that we wouldn't want on the front page of a newspaper or telecast."
Obama demurred when asked whether he thought the hacks were what led to Clinton's defeat. But he made clear he thought media coverage of his former secretary of state wasn't fair.
"I think the coverage of her and the issues was troubling," Obama said.
President-elect Donald Trump, for his part, has not accepted the unanimous U.S. intelligence that Russia was behind the hacks.
Obama said Wednesday he hoped Trump would at some point become concerned about Russia's actions.
"My hope is that the president-elect is going to similarly be concerned with making sure that we don't have potential foreign influence in our election process," Obama said. "I don't think any American wants that. That shouldn't be a source of an argument."