Instead, and only during the transition after Trump's electoral victory, the Obama administration ejected 35 Russian diplomats from the USA, issued a series of warnings, and brought in sanctions against Russia that many saw as merely symbolic.
"[Friday]'s Washington Post story provides shocking new detail of what many of us have asserted all along: that the Obama administration abjectly failed to deter Russian aggression, including Vladimir Putin's ultimate attack on our interests and values - the active, purposeful effort to undermine the integrity of American democracy and shift the outcome of last year's election", McCain said in a statement.
A senior Obama administration official said that his team "sort of choked" when responding to reports that Russian-linked hackers had tried to influence to the November election.
Evidence of Russian meddling mounted as the election neared.
The bombshell piece of intelligence reportedly came from deep within the Russian government and captured the Russian President's specific objective of bringing down Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and helping elect her opponent Donald Trump. "They probably have her 33,000 e-mails that she lost and deleted because you'd see some beauties there".
Sent by courier from the CIA, a special intelligence briefing marked "eyes only" carried instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: Mr Obama and three senior aides.
Obama was also informed of the cyber attacks by the Russians on Democratic Party officials and the Democratic National Committee.
According to the Post account, over the next five months the administration debated numerous ways to respond, ranging from cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure to the publication of material gathered by Central Intelligence Agency that might embarrass Putin to potentially crippling sanctions.
Merkley and other Democratic lawmakers said Russian Federation used extensive methods in the cyber campaign, including 1,000 trolls, hacking and bots to generate fake messages on social media. Another measure, the planting of cyberweapons in Russia's infrastructure, was still in the planning stages when Obama left office.
US President Donald Trump has consistently called allegations of Russian hacking "fake news".
They couldn't do anything about embarrassing WikiLeaks revelations from hacked Clinton emails. In response, Putin demanded proof.
Trump's alleged ties to Russian Federation have received so much attention, including investigations by a special counsel and two congressional committees, that the adequacy of the Obama administration's response has largely escaped scrutiny.
"The Dems were, 'Hey, we have to tell the public, '" recalled one participant.
Johnson told Rep. Trey Gowdy he didn't have any evidence "beyond what has been out there" that Donald Trump or his associates colluded with Russian Federation during the 2016 election.
"The punishment did not fit the crime", former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said of the United States sanctions.