In his final news conference of the year, President Obama said that Russia cannot change or significantly weaken the U.S., because Russia is a smaller and weaker country.
He said Russia’s economy “doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy,” except oil, gas and arms. The only way Russia can affect the U.S., he said, is “if we lose track of who we are” and “abandon our values.”
“Mr. Putin can weaken us just like he’s trying to weaken Europe if we start buying into notions that it’s OK to intimidate the press, or lock up dissidents or discriminate against people,” he said.
When asked if he would specifically name Russian President Vladimir Putin as directly responsible for the election hacking, Obama said he wanted to give the intelligence community a chance to gather the information necessary. He added, however, that “not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin,” reaffirming that the hacking happened at the highest levels of the Russian government.