As the Obama administration began winding down in December 2016, the former president moved to shut down two Russian compounds in Maryland and New York and expelled 35 Russian diplomats amid allegations of hacking the Democratic party. CBS NEWS is reporting that U.S. officials discovered destroyed materials found in the compound.
Items that could have been used in intelligence gathering, such as antennas, electronics, computers and file cabinets were rid of. So the question becomes, “why would the items be destroyed if they could have been useful in the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election?”
Russian diplomats had been using the compounds as vacation retreats for their families for decades. When President Obama shut them down, President Vladimir Putin expressed his disappointment that diplomat families who normally would enjoy their school vacation at the American compounds would be denied that pleasure.
According to numerous reports, President Trump is considering returning the compounds to the Russians, but a bipartisan group of senators led by Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) has come out against the move.
“Returning the compounds to Russian control is unjustifiable,” Sens. Amy Klobouchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Graham wrote in a letter to Trump on Friday. “It would both make it easier for the Kremlin to continue its intelligence operations in our own backyard and make it clear that they can avoid consequences for their actions. We strongly advise against it.”
They went on to note, “These properties were seized because 17 U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that Russia used covert cyberattacks, espionage, and harmful propaganda to try and undermine our democracy, in addition to the fact that U.S. diplomats in Russia faced repeated harassment from Russian security services.”
In a recent interview, President Trump chastised Barack Obama for “doing nothing” about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election before it took place, even though it turns out that he had prior knowledge of it.
Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2017
“Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it. But nobody wants to talk about that,” Trump stated in an interview which will air in full Sunday on “Fox and Friends Weekend.”
Trump added, “The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even — before the election. And I hardly see it. It’s an amazing thing. In other words, the question is, if he had the information, why didn’t he do something about it? He should have done something about it. But you don’t read that. It’s quite sad.”
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