President Obama insisted in an interview that aired Sunday he did not underestimate Russian President Vladimir Putin when he dismissed Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign assessment that the country was the top U.S. geopolitical foe. But Obama acknowledged he may have misjudged Russia’s ability to tamper in the American electoral process.
“I underestimated the degree to which, in this new information age, it is possible for misinformation, for cyberhacking and so forth, to have an impact on our open societies, our open systems, to insinuate themselves into our democratic practices in ways that I think are accelerating,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The comments in the taped interview came as debate over a joint intelligence report on Russia’s effort to help President-elect Donald Trump in the 2016 election continued to rage. Trump and his aides have tried to downplay the report’s findings and would not commit on Sunday to punishing Russia further for the activities than Obama has.