Putin will pay for interfering in US election - Biden says in interview

Joe Biden said the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, will face consequences for directing efforts to swing the 2020 US presidential election to Donald Trump, and that they would come soon.

“He will pay a price,” Biden told ABC News in an interview that aired on Wednesday morning.

Asked by the Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos what the consequences would be, he said: “You’ll see shortly.”

Biden’s comments come after a US declassified intelligence report on Tuesday bolstered longstanding allegations that Putin was behind Moscow’s election interference, by proliferating “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations” largely designed to denigrate Joe Biden and boost Trump’s re-election, some fed through allies of Trump.

The assessment was contained in a 15-page report published by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Tuesday afternoon.

It underscored allegations that Trump’s allies played into Moscow’s hands by amplifying claims against Biden by Ukrainian figures with links to Russia.

In a statement, the Democratic House intelligence chair, Adam Schiff, said: 

Through proxies, Russia ran a successful intelligence operation that penetrated [Trump’s] inner circle.

Russia responded by recalling its ambassador for consultations, but even as relations between the countries lurched into crisis, Moscow stressed it wanted to prevent an “irreversible deterioration” in relations.

In his interview, Biden also expressed a hope that the US could cooperate with Russia on issues such as arms control, saying that the US and Russia can “walk and chew gum” at the same time.

There’s places where it’s in our mutual interest to work together” such as renewing the Start nuclear agreement, he said.

Biden pointed out the significance of he and Putin having a known history of acquaintance.

I know him relatively well, Biden said, adding that “the most important thing dealing with foreign leaders in my experience … is just know the other guy.

Of Putin, Biden said he does not think the Russian leader has a soul. Biden reiterated what was an old comment, saying in the ABC interview that in response to the former Republican president George W Bush’s comment that he had looked into Putin’s eyes and seen his soul, Biden had noted at the time that he had done the same and told the Russian president to his face that he thought he did not have a soul.

I did say that to him, yes. And his response was ‘we understand one another’, Biden said, adding: I wasn’t being a wise guy, I was alone with him in his office, that’s how it came about.

Asked by Stephanopoulos if he thought Putin was a killer, Biden responded in the affirmative: 

Mmm hmm, yes I do.

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