What #Donald Trump once described as "phoney" and a "witch hunt", he now appears to acknowledge that there is some veracity to claims about #Russian interference in the #2016 Election. Tweeting that Obama knew far ahead of the election about the Russian meddling in the election but did nothing, suggests that he may have finally come to terms with what multiple intelligence agencies have been telling him about Russia's meddling in the US elections. It came after a report in the Washington Post that dealt with discussions within the Obama Administration about how to respond to the Russian efforts to influence the election.

Trump's denial of Russian interference

Donald Trump was so sure that Russia was not involved in influencing the election, he fired the CIA Director James Comey and publicly stated that he did so because of the Russia investigation.

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News about the Russian meddling came to light last summer and the CIA concluded in a report that there was overwhelming evidence to support the claim. President-elect Donald Trump wasted no time in denouncing the CIA findings as "ridiculous". He continued his denial of Russian meddling and even suggested the Russians were laughing at the US, tweeting that it was "Fake News" and a "lame excuse" for why the Democrats lost the election

In addition to outright denial of Russian interference, Donald Trump's presidency has been one of avoidance and indifference when asked about his position on Russian meddling.

Putin's support for Trump's stance

Donald Trump had the support of Moscow in his denial of the foreign power's meddling in the US elections. Even after the US Department of Homeland Security made explicit claims of Russian hacking, Putin backed up Trump's claim that the allegations were without merit.

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During the 2016 election campaign, Putin praised Trump for energising the US elections and stated that Russia had nothing to do with influencing the elections. Denials also came from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, emphatically stating that they did not supply Russian hackers with material.

Two different responses to hacking allegations

As evidence of Russian interference and collusion by the Trump campaign in the elections continue to grow, Donald Trump has responded by rewarding the Russian government by meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office and indicating an intent to normalise relations with that government. During his last days in office, President Barack Obama kicked 35 Russian officials out of the US in sanctions against Russian intelligence services and closed two Russian-owned compounds in the US. These sanctions based on evidence of Russian hacking of the 2016 elections were described at the time as the strongest action taken by the administration in retaliation for Russia's cyber attacks.