In an interview with George Stephanopoulos that aired on Wednesday, March 17, Biden was asked all sorts of questions about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Among those questions was whether Putin engaged in “extensive efforts to hurt the candidacy of Joseph R. Biden Jr. during the election last year” as claimed in a recently declassified intelligence report.
In an apparent effort to look tough, Biden also claimed in the interview that he warned Putin that there would be a response from the White House if Russia tried to intimidate or if they manipulated American voters in any way.
Bringing the whole interview to a head, Stephanopoulos then asked Biden if he thought that Putin was a “killer.” Biden simply responded, “I do”—probably referring to the many reports over the years that Putin has had journalists who were sharply critical of his regime killed under all sorts of mysterious circumstances.
Well, the Russian president now has a response to this comment.
When informed of these comments during a press conference, Putin threw Biden’s remarks right back at him. Depending on the translation he consults, Putin either replied, “Whoever calls someone those names, is describing themselves” or “It takes one to know one.”
Maria V. Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, declared on March 18 that Anatoly I. Antonov, a Russian U.S. envoy, would be withdrawn and sent back to Moscow as Putin’s government seeks to “analyze what needs to be done in the context of relations with the United States.”
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, also told CNN that “There hasn’t been anything like this in history.”
Pointless saber-rattling is never a good thing, and Biden certainly deserves censure for it. This thoughtless incident is yet another case that reveals his mental incapacity to be president—as if any more were needed.
As for the allegations that Russia attempted to hurt Biden’s campaign or manipulate American voters, there is absolutely no direct evidence for this.
So-called “intelligence reports” should really no longer be enough to persuade reasonable people of anything. For years, people endured utterly baseless Russiagate hysteria, amplified by a media staffed with careless suck-ups and quislings for the ruling elite. “Intelligence officials” claimed to have evidence that Trump colluded with the Russian government back then as well, but they had nothing and were all lying through their teeth.
People have no way to know whether this so-called “intelligence report” isn’t just another instance of this. In the absence of direct and verifiable evidence, the safe thing to do is to just assume that all of these claims are lies.
Biden has always been known to shoot his mouth off, but this was careless—even for him.