He had even challenged the Obama White House to explain why it waited until after the election results were in to sound the Russian Federation alarm.
New details reported Friday by The Washington Post reveal the extent to which the Russian meddling bore Putin's own signature and brushstrokes.
A top official reportedly told NBC News that President Donald Trump's senior staff, energized by recent Republican wins in SC and Georgia, urged the president not to talk about the Russian Federation investigation during his Wednesday night speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the United States presidential race.
The latest revelations center on a critical piece of evidence that led US intelligence agencies to that conclusion.
That report "captured Putin's specific instructions on the operation's audacious objectives - defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton".
Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers
One former CIA official likened the intelligence to the "holy grail", a rare window directly into the plans and intentions of Putin, a former KGB operative who takes extraordinary precautions to protect himself from foreign surveillance.
The cyber operation is still in its early stages and involves deploying "implants" in Russian networks deemed "important to the adversary and that would cause them pain and discomfort if they were disrupted", a former US official said. "Importantly, we did that".
"I feel like we sort of choked", he declared.
In December, however, Obama approved the expelling of the diplomats, the closing of the two compounds - and "economic sanctions so narrowly targeted that even those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic". "In many ways that complete picture is still being filled in".
"We weren't able to put all of those pieces together in real time", former White House deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told WaPo.
"Our primary interest in August, September and October was to prevent them from doing the max they could do", a senior administration official told the Post "We made the judgment that we had ample time after the election, regardless of outcome, for punitive measures". "So, there was enormous bias in the election because of the Russians, but how do you balance that out without further damaging it?"