Actually, Joe Biden didn’t call Putin a killer as much as ABC’s George Stephanopoulos did, so get ready for another Jen Psaki post-interview “clarification.” Remember when a presidential head-bob in a national-media interview didn’t commit Joe Biden? I wonder what the policy will be on presidential grunts:
G. Stephanopoulos: “so, you know Vladimir Putin. Do you think he’s a killer?”
Joe Biden: “I do”
— jacopo iacoboni (@jacopo_iacoboni) March 17, 2021
The United States’ chief intelligence office on Tuesday released an unclassified report on foreign meddling in the 2020 election that concluded Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw sweeping efforts aimed at “denigrating” President Joe Biden’s candidacy.
Biden told Stephanopoulos that he had warned Putin about a potential response during a call in late January.
“He will pay a price,” Biden said. “We had a long talk, he and I, when we — I know him relatively well. And the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.”
Stephanopoulos asked: “So you know Vladimir Putin. You think he’s a killer?”
“Mmm hmm, I do,” Biden replied.
Oddly enough, heads of state don’t particularly like being called killers by other world leaders, especially those who really are … like Putin, for instance. Putin has certainly heard this kind of rhetoric before, from Biden as well as others, which might be why he feels justified in interfering — although it’s much more likely that he benefits at home from his tough-guy routine with the US and Europe. (He didn’t hear it often enough in the Trump administration.)
Biden’s full of blather anyway, and Putin knows it. Putin’s gangsterism has been ignored by administrations of both parties, starting with George W. Bush and most definitely including the Barack Obama/Biden terms. Remember how that started with Hillary Clinton’s “reset button” to Sergei Lavrov and ended with the Obama administration being completely unprepared for Russian shenanigans in the 2016 election? Good times, good times. Almost literally the first thing Biden did in office was to extend an arms agreement with Putin despite US suspicions and evidence of Russian cheating on such treaties. Biden calls it a demonstration that we can “walk and chew gum at the same time for places where it’s in our mutual interest to to work together.” Putin likely sees it as more reason for impunity.
By the way, Russia wasn’t the only country that had been found to attempt interference in this election. The same intel report also found that Iran staged intel-propaganda operations to undercut Donald Trump. Will Iran also pay a price, or does Biden only plan payback for those who tried to make him look bad? So far, the administration keeps talking about how it wants to re-engage with Iran, not make them “pay a price” … and Iran’s mullahcracy has at least as much blood on their hands as Putin, much of it American blood.
Perhaps this is a question that will come up when Biden tries flying more pallets of cash to Tehran, either literally or figuratively, as the price we’ll pay to re-enter the disastrous Iran deal. But I’ll eat my hat if that question ever comes from George Stephanopoulos.