Barack Obama appeared on The Daily Show for one final time as president, for a low-key, somber chat during which he calmly burned Donald Trump. Host Trevor Noah asked the President to comment on the president-elect’s recent comments that he doesn’t accept daily intelligence briefings because he’s a “smart” guy. “I think the president-elect may say one thing and do another when he’s here because the truth of the matter is, it’s a big complicated world,” Obama remarked. “It doesn’t matter how smart you are, you have to have the best information possible to make the best decisions possible.” And that means talking to people from the U.S.’ intelligence agencies. He added: “If you’re not getting their perspective—their detailed perspective—then you are flying blind.”
That line of questioning emerged from a discussion of reports that the CIA has determined that Russia was indeed meddling in the election to help Trump win the presidency. But, according to Obama, we shouldn’t have been so shocked. “This was not a secret running up the election,” he said, noting that Trump even called on Russia to release Hillary Clinton’s emails, which was something that indeed happened. The President instead argued that as a nation, we should be investigating why we were so distracted by the controversy surrounding those emails.
“The real question that I think we all have to reflect on is, what’s happened to our political system where some emails that were hacked and released ended up being the overwhelming story and the constant source of coverage, breathless coverage, that was depicted as somehow damning in all sorts of ways, when the truth of the matter was, it was fairly routine stuff,” he said. Over the course of the full interview, which you can watch above, Obama and Noah also talked about Obamacare (“One of my favorite topics,” Obama quipped) and how to address race.