President Barack Obama made his first on-air appearance since the election when he appeared on The Daily Show Monday night. His sit-down interview with host Trevor Noah occurred just after Friday's CIA report that Russia had hacked the DNC and tried to influence the outcome of the election in Donald Trump's favor, as well as the news that Obama ordered a review the report be conducted before the inauguration.
The first part of the segment opened with Obama discussing the scandal and saying more than once that Russia's involvement in the election was nothing new and no one should be surprised. The president's statement was likely in response to Trump's recent tweet in which the president-elect complained about why the allegation wasn't brought up before the election.
Unless you catch "hackers" in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn't this brought up before election?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016
As Obama pointed out, it was. In early October, the US government officially accused Russia of hacking DNC computers. "That was a month before the election," said Obama. "This was not a secret." (And as NPR reports, the hacking reports came up 13 times during the election, including during the presidential debates.)
"I will say this, though, Trevor: none of this should be a big surprise," he added. "This was reported on before the election. I don't think there was any doubt among anybody in the media or among members of Congress as to who was being advantaged or disadvantaged by the political gossip that was being put out in drip-drip-drip fashion leading up to the election."
Obama also expressed frustration over how Clinton's email contents were "depicted as somehow damning in all sorts of ways, when the truth of the matter was it was fairly routine stuff" and became the main story in the media rather than the alleged hacking itself.
"This was not a secret running up to the election!" repeated Obama before reminding Noah that Trump had invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's email in July. "The president-elect in some of his political events specifically said to the Russians, 'Hack Hillary's emails so that we can finally find out what's going on, and confirm our conspiracy theories.' You had what was very clear relationships between members of the president-elect's campaign team and Russians and a professed shared view on a bunch of issues."
Watch the full 22-minute interview above, which also features Obama's poignant comments about race, the Affordable Care Act, and his plans postpresidency.