Obama discussed cybersecurity with Vladimir Putin during a 90-minute meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit held in China in early September. The president characterized the meeting at the time as “candid, blunt, businesslike.”
While Obama is threatening to retaliate against Russia, he has only about five weeks left in the Oval Office. Trump has dismissed — in fact, mocked — intelligence assessments tying the DNC and Podesta hacks to Russia, and he campaigned on improving the U.S. relationship with the country.
In his interview with NPR, Obama appeared mystified by that stance.
“The irony of all this, of course, is that for most of my presidency, there’s been a pretty sizable wing of the Republican Party that has consistently criticized me for not being tough enough on Russia,” he said. “Some of those folks during the campaign endorsed Donald Trump, despite the fact that a central tenet of his foreign policy was we shouldn’t be so tough on Russia. And that kind of inconsistency I think makes it appear, at least, that their particular position on Russia on any given day depends on what’s politically expedient.”