Rep. Adam Schiff: Obama too slow on Russia hacking, but Trump is 'sitting on his hands'

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called out both President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama for not speaking out sooner about the investigation into hacking during the 2016 presidential election.

“At the time, we could get the Obama administration to acknowledge the Russian interference,” Schiff said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” noting that the response was not “sufficient.”

“They were very wary to be seen as putting their hand on the scale of the election,” he added.

But he also said that doesn’t justify President Trump’s refusal to enact new sanctions against Russia last month. 

“None of that is an excuse for this president to sit on his hands,” he said. “It is inexplicable for the president of the United States to sit on sanctions that Congress passed.”

“They can’t point the finger back when they’re sitting on sanctions that Congress on a very bipartisan basis imposed,” he added.

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U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks with reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speak with the media about the ongoing Russia investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA) reacts to Committee Chairman Devin Nunes statements about surveillance of U.S. President Trump and his staff as well as his visit to the White House, during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks at a town hall meeting on healthcare reform in Alhambra, California, August 11, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES HEALTH POLITICS)
Ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) (R) speak during the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Russian actions during the 2016 election campaign on March 20, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel Ngan (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 19, 2017. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks during a news conference discussing Russian sanctions on Capitol Hill February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / ZACH GIBSON (Photo credit should read ZACH GIBSON/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Adam Schiff arrives at the 85th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade on November 27, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tara Ziemba/WireImage)
GLENDALE, CA - OCTOBER 07: Congressman Adam Schiff poses with guests at the HAAS Spine And Orthopaedics Official Opening Reception held at HAAS Spine & Orthopaedics Center on October 7, 2016 in Glendale, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 27: Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., walks through the crowd on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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The CNN appearance aired two hours after Trump posted a series of morning tweets attacking Schiff and highlighting the congressman’s criticism of the previous president, which he first stated two days ago. In a signature taunt, he suggested that Schiff was casting blame on the Obama administration “as yet another excuse that the Democrats, lead by their fearless leader, Crooked Hillary Clinton, lost the 2016 election.”

The president’s tirade came two days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities, outlining evidence that foreign actors meddled in the 2016 election and bolstered the campaigns of Trump’s and Bernie Sanders. The indictments could open the door to more charges.

Trump has previously made conflicting statements surrounding the charges of Russian interference, saying that Russia did interfere in the election, while also saying that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin when he denied interfering. Yet the president has maintained that his campaign did not collude with Russia and called Mueller’s probe “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”

He reiterated that claim on Sunday morning.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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