Condoleeza Rice believes Putin wanted to 'punish' Clinton: 'He's an eye-for-an-eye person'
Condoleeza Rice (MSNBC)

Condoleeza Rice wants to see Russia punished for interfering in the U.S. presidential election -- which she said was revenge against Hillary Clinton.


The former Secretary of State and national security adviser to President George W. Bush told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Russian President Vladimir Putin must have gotten "tremendous satisfaction" watching Monday's congressional testimony by Sally Yates and James Clapper.

"He is an eye-for-an-eye kind of person," Rice said. "We questioned -- specifically, Hillary Clinton -- questioned the legitimacy of his election in 2012. Now he's going to show us that he can question, or he can throw doubt, on the legitimacy of our elections."

Rice, an expert on the Soviet Union and Russia, said she would have warned Putin that he would be punished for meddling in the election while also expressing "absolute confidence" in the democratic process.

"(That would) take away from him that psychic satisfaction of watching us spin around," she said.

Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, testified that Russia had withheld documents stolen from the Republican National Committee but instead released only documents that could hurt the Clinton campaign.

"I do think there was great animosity toward Secretary Clinton in the election, but they've been interfering and trying to interfere for many, many, many years in our elections -- this is just a particularly effective way to do it," Rice said. "Cybersecurity is a new tool, in a sense. I would be careful about jumping to the conclusion that they wanted to elect somebody. I could imagine that anybody who was opposing Secretary Clinton might have been their preference."

Rice suggested the Obama administration had not properly kept tabs on Putin and Russia in the years ahead of the election, so she wasn't confident in their assessment of actions taken during the campaign.

"I worry a little bit about when we start too much judging beyond that," she said. "We didn't know, our intelligence services didn't know, that Putin was about to annex Crimea, we didn't know that he was about to drop troops into Syria. I'm not so confident when we start talking about motives in quite such a precise way."

Rice said the grudge against Clinton wasn't personal, but part of his longstanding animosity toward the U.S. for criticizing him and his regime.

"She was the vehicle for having criticized his election as illegitimate," she said. "I don't want to jump from that to he wanted, therefore, to elect someone else. Again, I repeat, he's an eye-for-an-eye person, right? This is about punishment of Americans, who he believes have questioned his legitimacy as president of Russia."