US President Joe Biden has threatened Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin with consequences for alleged Russian interference in the US election last November. “He’s going to pay a price,” said Biden in an interview broadcast on Wednesday by US broadcaster ABC. In a telephone conversation at the end of January, he said to Putin, with a view to possible interference from Moscow: “I know you and you know me. When I find out that this has happened, be prepared. ”When asked by ABC presenter George Stephanopoulos whether he thought Putin was a“ killer ”, Biden replied:“ I do.
According to the US intelligence services, Russia stood up for then-US President Donald Trump in the November election and tried to harm Biden. Moscow wanted to influence the outcome of the election and sow strife in the country, according to a report published Tuesday by the office of US intelligence coordinator Avril Haines. Putin and his government “approved and implemented” the measures. Russia focused on disinformation, but, unlike in the 2016 election, did not try to directly undermine the electoral infrastructure in the United States.
“Wrong, absolutely unfounded and unfounded”
The Kremlin rejected the US intelligence report. The report was “wrong, absolutely unfounded and baseless,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, according to the Interfax agency in Moscow on Wednesday. Russia did not interfere in either the 2020 or previous US elections. Such an assertion on the part of the USA only harms “the already tarnished Russian-American relations”.
Many other comments from the country are also sharply outlined: “Putin is our president and an attack on him is an attack on our country,” wrote the President of the Russian House of Commons, Vyacheslav Volodin, in the Telegram online service. The influential Putin confidante added, referring to the Biden statements: “This is hysteria due to powerlessness.”
The US president did not provide any information about the consequences of the intelligence intelligence for Putin. At the same time, Biden made it clear that cooperation between Washington and Moscow is still possible if they have common interests. Critics had accused Trump of adopting a policy that was too Putin-friendly. Biden had already announced a tougher approach to Moscow during the election campaign.
Biden’s statements in the interview about Putin sparked criticism in Russia. “Biden has insulted the citizens of our country with his statements,” wrote parliamentary leader Vyacheslav Volodin in the news channel Telegram. He spoke of “hysteria” and “powerlessness”. “Putin is our president, attacks on him are attacks on our country,” he said. Regarding possible new US sanctions, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the State Duma, Leonid Sluzki, said, according to the Interfax agency: “We will find a clear and appropriate answer to all restrictive measures on the part of the USA, especially because of such imaginary occasions.”
The report did not specifically name the objectives of Russian influence in the United States
The US report said Russia relied on its intelligence, state media, internet trolls and allies in Ukraine in its campaign. One of Moscow’s most important strategies was to accuse Biden and his family of corruption in connection with Ukraine. Russia’s agents had also targeted Americans who had ties to Trump’s government to demand the initiation of investigations against Biden. There have also been efforts to manipulate Trump administration officials and certain media to do so.
The report did not specifically name the objectives of Russian influence in the United States. The theories spread by Moscow on the alleged corruption of Biden was represented by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Conservative media such as Fox News picked them up again and again. The Republican Trump also accused the Democrat Biden and his son Hunter several times of having enriched themselves with crooked business.
Hunter Biden held a lucrative position on the supervisory board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma between 2014 and 2019. As Vice President, his father was in charge of US policy towards Ukraine until the end of 2016. Trump, in turn, is accused of pressuring Ukraine in 2019 to initiate corruption investigations against Biden. Trump wanted to harm his political rival, so critics.
Influence during the US election
Trump’s actions against Ukraine led to the initiation of the first impeachment proceedings against Trump for abuse of power. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives indicted him, but the Senate acquitted him with a majority of Republicans.
In the new report of the secret services on the 2020 election it was said that Moscow wanted to “influence the public perception of the candidates in the USA”. The long-term goal is to “undermine confidence in the US electoral system and to increase the social division of the people in America”. Russia viewed Biden’s election victory as “detrimental to Russian interests”. China, on the other hand, did not try to influence the election. Iran, in turn, tried to influence the election campaign in order to reduce the chances of Trump’s re-election and to increase the division in American society, it said.
In the 2016 election, the US security authorities were convinced that Russia intervened in favor of the candidate Trump in order to slow down Democrat Hillary Clinton. A special investigator later investigated possible illegal collusion between Russia and Trump’s team. There was insufficient evidence for this, but investigator Robert Mueller did not rule out that Trump might obstruct the judiciary’s investigations. Trump always condemned the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt”.
Biden did not provide any information about the consequences these findings could have for Putin. At the same time, the US President made it clear that cooperation between Washington and Moscow is still possible if they have common interests.