Fox News’ first response to Russian election meddling indictments: blame Obama

Amid news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals on charges of conspiracy related to meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Fox News returned to a favorite strategy: blame Barack Obama.

Former House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), now a Fox News contributor, was asked about the indictments on Friday afternoon.  He immediately downplayed the notion that this interference may have had any impact on Donald Trump’s victory in the incredibly close 2016 election and suggested that it was the fault of the previous president.

“I think a lot of people were very concerned, even at a small level, that this was happening. [Current House Oversight Chairman] Devin Nunes [(R-CA)] has been talking about this for a couple of years. President Obama kind of pooh-poohed the idea that anybody could even interfere, but I think clearly  — the more we’ve learned, particularly after the election, yes, there were people improperly trying to manipulate the election,” Chaffetz explained.

He then implied that the Russian effort had absolutely nothing to do with Trump’s win: “Even if they weren’t successful… I don’t think there’s been any indication that it would’ve changed the outcome of the election but the fact that they were trying, I am glad there are going to evidently be some indictments and I hope they are prosecuted and put in jail for a long time. “


Last month Vice President Joe Biden said at a Council on Foreign Relations event that then-President Barack Obama met with the congressional leadership in 2016 and informed them of Russia’s apparent effort to illegally meddle in the election. The information was not made public at the time, he recalled, because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked a bipartisan statement of condemnation.

Chaffetz led multiple unsuccessful investigations of the Obama administration before resigning from Congress after Trump became president.