President Donald Trump heavily criticized former President Barack Obama during a news conference in Poland on Wednesday for what Trump said was a weak reaction to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
He claimed that Obama ignored the Russians' meddling because the former president believed Hillary Clinton was going to win.
"I think a lot of people interfere, I think it's been happening for a long time, it's been happening for many years," Trump said when a reporter asked during a joint appearance with the president of Poland if he accepted that the Russians interfered with the election.
"The thing I have to mention is that Barack Obama when he was president, found out about this, in terms of whether it was Russia, found out about it in August," he continued. "Now the election was in November. That's a lot of time. He did nothing about it."
"Why did he do nothing about it?" he asked. "He was told it was Russia, by the CIA, as I understand it, it was well-reported, and he did nothing about it. They say he choked. Well, I don't think he choked, I think what happened is he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and he said let's not do anything about it. Had he thought the other way, he would have done something about it."
"So he was told in early August by presumably the CIA that Russia was trying to get involved, or meddling, pretty strongly with the election," Trump continued. "He did nothing about it."
"The reason is, he thought Hillary was going to win," the president concluded. "And if he thought I was going to win he would have done plenty about it. So, that's the real question is, why did he do nothing from August all the way to Nov. 8, why did he do nothing? His people said he choked, I don't think he choked."
Trump was referring to a Washington Post report of comments from a former top Obama official who said that the administration "sort of choked" in their response to the intelligence community telling them Russians were trying to influence the election.
"So the follow ups for you on that, Mr. President," NBC News' Hallie Jackson said, "you again say you think it was Russia. Your intelligence agencies have been far more definitive, they say it was Russia. Why won't you agree with them and say it was?"
"Well, I'll tell you," Trump responded. "Let me just start off by saying, I heard it was 17 agencies. I said, boy that's a lot, do we even have that many intelligence agencies, right? Let's check it."
"And we did some very heavy research," he explained, "it turned out to be three or four, it wasn't 17, and many of your compatriots had to change their reporting, and they had to apologize and they had to correct."
"Now, with that being said, mistakes have been made," Trump continued, "I agree, I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement."
"Nobody really knows," he said, "nobody really knows for sure."
"I remember when I was sitting back listening about Iraq," he continued. "Weapons of mass destruction. How everybody was 100 percent sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Guess what? That led to one big mess, they were wrong, and it led to a mess."
"So, it was Russia," he concluded, "and I think it was probably others also, and it's been going on for a long period of time."
Jackson attempted to follow up with more questions, but she was shut down awkwardly by the press conference organizers as Trump and the Polish president walked away.
Trump has been a consistent critic of intelligence communities that assured former President George W. Bush about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S invaded.
Trump met with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw and will continue on to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday. After that, he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.