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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.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trumpworld coronavirus tracker

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the White House — including the president himself — just weeks before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If the president can get infected, anyone can. And the scramble to figure out the scope of this outbreak is a high-profile, high-stakes microcosm of America's larger failures to contain the virus and to stand up a contact-tracing system that can respond to new cases before they have a chance to become outbreaks.

Biden calls for unity at Gettysburg

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden on Tuesday traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, home to the Civil War battlefield where Abraham Lincoln once called for national unity, to ask Americans to come together to defeat racial injustice and the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Pennsylvania, a swing state that was crucial to President Trump's 2016 win, could deliver the election to Biden next month. A new Monmouth University poll out Tuesday shows Biden expanding his lead over Trump in the state.

Biden: I think if Trump still has COVID, "we shouldn't have a debate"

Joe Biden speaking in Hagerstown, Maryland, Oct. 6. Photo: Brendan Smualowski/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden said Tuesday when asked about facing President Trump in the second presidential debate on Oct. 15, "I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate."

Why it matters: Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus last week. Though he was discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday evening and his physician said he's not experiencing symptoms, a person can be contagious up to 10 days after the symptoms resolve, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.