Jun 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden says Trump has "cozied up" to Putin, calls for "more data" on bounty allegations

Joe Biden

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden laced into President Trump over news reports that Russian intelligence operatives paid Taliban fighters to kill U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Driving the news: "There are still a lot of discussion about what the facts are," Biden told Democratic donors at a virtual fundraiser. "But if the president knew this and did nothing, it’s outrageous."

  • “When I’m president, this and so many abuses will not stand," he continued. "Make no mistake. I’ll confront Putin. I’ll strengthen NATO. I’ll make clear to Putin that they’ll have a price to pay for interference in our democratic processes."

Between the lines: Biden hedged his criticism at several points, saying that he didn't have all the facts.

  • "For the press on the call, I don’t have all the details," he said. "But I don't need the details to know how [Trump] has cozied up to Putin from the very beginning, giving Putin a standing that he does not deserve, undercutting our alliances in Europe and other parts of the world.”
  • On Saturday, Biden also hit the president about failing to act on the intelligence, which the White House has called unverified.
  • "His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale,” Biden said Saturday.

The big picture: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted on Monday that there was "no consensus" about the reported intelligence that Russian operatives were paying bounties to kill NATO and allied partner troops in Afghanistan.

  • She said that the "veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated" and that President Trump had not been "personally briefed" on it.
  • Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) sent a letter to Trump on Monday calling for Senate hearings on the matter and demanding that Russia be held accountable if the reports are accurate.
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