The Daily Showdown
President Obama sat down with Trevor Noah for Monday's Daily Show, but he wasn't in a joking mood when it came to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race. After the Democratic National Committee's email system was hacked, his administration immediately assigned intelligence and law enforcement agents to investigate, Obama said, "and we determined and announced in October that it was the consensus of all the intelligence agencies and law enforcement that organizations affiliated with Russian intelligence were responsible for the hacking of the DNC materials being leaked." That was a month before the election, he added, so "this was not a secret."
Obama said he called for a review "to gather all the threads of the investigations, the intelligence work that has been done over many months so that the public and our elected representatives going forward can find ways to prevent this kind of interference from having an impact on elections in the future." He seemed puzzled that "the leaks of what were frankly not very interesting emails that didn't have any explosive information in them ended up being an obsession, and the fact that the Russians were doing this was not an obsession," and he didn't crack a smile when Noah snuck in, "The risotto was interesting," a reference to a culinary tip shared by Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Obama also had some advice for President-elect Donald Trump, who has reportedly been skipping out on intelligence briefings because, as he told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday, he's "a smart person." "The truth of the matter is that it's a big, complicated world — it doesn't matter how smart you are, you have to have the best information possible to make the best decisions possible." Intelligence agencies know they aren't perfect, Obama added, "and if you're not getting their perspective — their detailed perspective — then you are flying blind." Watch below. Peter Weber