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Susan Walsh, Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Patrick Semansky / AP

In August last year, then-President Barack Obama received a highly classified CIA report with evidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin's direct involvement in the cyber attacks that were meant to interfere with the U.S. presidential election — to hurt Hilary Clinton and help Donald Trump, the Washington Post reported.

Why it matters: The Obama administration's debate over what to do highlighted the challenge in dealing with such a politically charged issue, which was central to the election and has remained central to the Trump presidency.

Response:

  1. Obama instructed aides to evaluate how the election system could be most vulnerable and to get agencies to back up the CIA's discovery.
  2. CIA Director John Brennan called the head of Russia's security agency and warned him about interfering in the election.
  3. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson attempted to secure the voting system, although some state officials refused.

When the intelligence agency leaders approached Congress with their conclusions, Democrats wanted the information to go public, while Republicans felt that revealing the information would help the Russians' attempt to destroy confidence in the electoral process. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even questioned the White House's conclusions based on the intelligence, the Post reports.

The official statement about Russia's interference was released on October 7th. President Obama did not add his signature, and FBI Director James Comey also decided at the last minute to remove his name from the statement as he felt it was too close to the election for the FBI to get involved.

Retaliation: For 5 months, Obama deliberated various plans of action against Russia. It wasn't until December, a month after the unexpected election results, that he approved sanctions against Russia. He also approved a secret plan to plant cyber weapons in Russia's infrastructure, the Post reported for the first time, but it was up to President Trump to oversee that the plan was carried out.

Too little, too late: The Post points out that despite the clear evidence of Russia's crime, "because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences." Although those close to both Obama and Trump defend their leader's actions.

"It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend. I feel like we sort of choked." — a former senior Obama administration official involved in the deliberations on Russia told the Post.

Irony: The Post published the story only a few hours after Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday, "By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin. Why didn't they stop them?"

Go deeper with a full timeline and more details with the Washington Post story.

Go deeper

Andrew Cuomo refuses to resign: "I never touched anyone inappropriately"

Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he will not resign from his post, despite an independent investigation finding that he sexually harassed multiple women in violation of federal and state law.

Why it matters: Cuomo had previously urged those calling for his resignation — including nearly every prominent New York Democrat — to wait for the results of the investigation overseen by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The findings were damning, but Cuomo said he is not going anywhere.

New York AG finds Cuomo sexually harassed women, violated state and federal law

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

An independent investigation found that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including employees in his office, in violation of state and federal law, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Cuomo, who has denied wrongdoing and urged critics to wait for the results of the independent inquiry, will now face renewed pressure to resign. He must also determine whether he will continue his 2022 re-election campaign.

3 hours ago - Health

New York City to require vaccination proof for indoor activities

New York City will require proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities, including visiting gyms and restaurants, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The mandate is the first of its kind for a major U.S. city, according to de Blasio. France and Italy announced similar requirements last month.