On first call with Putin, Biden raises election interference, Navalny
Biden called intending to raise concern about a suspected Russian SolarWinds spying campaign that breached Justice Department email accounts, Russia reportedly placing bounties on American troops and interference in the 2020 election, Psaki said.
President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday afternoon, expressing U.S. objections to a variety of Kremlin actions, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
Psaki told reporters at Tuesday’s press briefing that the call was scheduled to take place as she was behind the podium fielding press questions. She said the White House would issue a readout of the call later Tuesday afternoon.
Biden called intending to raise concern about a suspected Russian SolarWinds hacking campaign that breached Justice Department email accounts, reports of Russian bounties reportedly placed on American troops and interference in the 2020 election, Psaki said. The president also intended to raise his concerns about the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the Kremlin’s recent treatment of peaceful protesters demonstrating in support of him, the press secretary said.
Biden also intended to support Ukrainian sovereignty and his goal of extending a nuclear arms treaty for five years with Russia, Psaki said.
“His intention was also to make clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of our national interests in response to malign actions by Russia,” Psaki told reporters.
Biden’s agenda for his call with Putin struck a decidedly different tone than former President Donald Trump, who was the subject of significant criticism for his relatively soft rhetoric toward Russia, especially relative to his broader America-first approach to foreign policy. Trump routinely attempted to undermine widely accepted evidence about the Kremlin’s 2016 election interference, at one point telling reporters that he would take the Russian president’s word over that of the U.S. intelligence community on the issue.