On the day before meeting Russian leader Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump chose who to blame most for election interference: Barack Obama.
More specifically, when asked on Thursday whether he believes Russia meddled in the 2016 election, President Trump shifted focus to what he said was the "real" question: Why didn't Obama do anything about it?
Trump told reporters,
I think what happened is he thought Hillary was going to win the election, and he said, 'let's not do anything about it.' Had he thought the other way, he would've done something about it...So that's the real question, is why did he do nothing from August all the way to November 8th? Why did he do nothing?
Video footage of the news conference can be seen below.
Here's why Trump blames Obama.
Trump's decision to shift blame to former President Obama for Russia's election interference is part of a recent trend for the current president.
In the past, President Trump has regarded the subject of Russia's involvement as a "phony" story with no substance.
In recent weeks though, the president changed rhetoric: The interference happened, and it's Barack Obama's fault that it did.
The turning point, in regards to that change in rhetoric, appears to have been the release of a bombshell report from the Washington Post, which detailed how the Obama administration struggled to decide on how to respond to Russia's actions.
The article did indeed include reporting that suggested Obama felt more comfortable in not alerting the public because Hillary Clinton had been projected to win the election.
The report also indicated that the Obama administration did not want to draw accusations of unfairly helping his party's nominee.
The day the report was published, Trump tweeted:
Does Trump blame Putin and Russia?
Trump's comments about Obama came after he was asked whether he was prepared to definitively point the finger at Russia for interfering in the election.
On that question, Trump offered a more measured response,
I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.
During a subsequent speech in Warsaw, the president did hint at Russia's reputation for getting involved in other countries' elections, and said Russia must "cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere."
However, during the press conference, Trump continued to avoid singling out Russia. Instead, he shifted blame to former President Obama.