Joe Biden says Russian President Vladimir Putin will ‘pay a price’ for meddling in US election

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

Key points:

  • Joe Biden launched a personal attack on Vladimir Putin, saying he had “no soul”
  • But he acknowledged that the US still had to work with Russia on some issues
  • It came after a report detailed interference by Russia and Iran in the US election

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

When asked what the consequences would be, Mr Biden said: “You’ll see shortly.”

Despite the looming consequences, Mr Biden noted the US would still have to work with Russia on some issues, such as renewing the START nuclear agreement.

He acknowledged the two leaders had a history, and that he had formed a negative opinion of Mr Putin.

A man sitting on an ornate chair, wearing a suit with a red tie, listening to a woman talk
Vladimir Putin is said to have authorised operations to help Donald Trump in the US presidential election.(AP: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik)

Mr Biden said he did not think the Russian leader had a soul, and when asked if he thought Mr Putin was a killer, he told the broadcaster: “I do.” 

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

His comments come after a US intelligence report on Tuesday bolstered longstanding allegations that Mr Putin was behind 2020 presidential election interference, an accusation Russia called baseless.Who meddled in the US election?In August, America’s top counterintelligence official warned that foreign powers were trying to influence the US elections.Read more

The new report from the Office of the US Director of National Intelligence represented the most detailed assessment yet of the array of foreign threats to last year’s election between Mr Trump and Mr Biden.

The declassified report found Mr Putin authorised operations to help Mr Trump in the US presidential election.

It also revealed efforts by Iran to undermine confidence in the vote and harm Mr Trump’s reelection prospects, as well as Moscow operations that relied on Mr Trump’s allies to smear Mr Biden, the eventual winner.

An elderly man with white hair wearing a suit and a mask.
Joe Biden attacked Vladimir Putin’s character in the interview.(AP: Carolyn Kaster)

It said the Kremlin attempted to denigrate Mr Biden and boost Mr Trump by exacerbating social divisions in the US.

Despite those threats, intelligence officials found “no indications that any foreign actor attempted to interfere in the 2020 US elections by altering any technical aspect of the voting process, including voter registration, ballot casting, vote tabulation, or reporting results.”

The report is the latest official affirmation of the integrity of the election, even as Trump supporters continue to make false claims of interference, from foreign or domestic actors, and refuse to accept Mr Biden’s victory.

Reuters/AP

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