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What happened to those sanctions, Joe? Biden getting briefed on Russian meddling in 2022 elections

Joe Biden is reportedly aware of Russian efforts to interfere in US elections, including the 2022 midterms, and that the activity is persistent and increasingly sophisticated.

On Friday it was revealed that the Biden administration is getting regular updates from the intelligence community on Russia‘s attempt to destabilize American democracy and those never actually stopped – making it likely that Vladimir Putin was unfazed by Joe Biden’s repeat threats and sanctions.

There’s recent evidence that points to Russia even trying to manipulate US tensions over masks and COVID vaccines, a source told CNN, as the US grapples with a nationwide surge in infections fueled by the Delta variant.

The intel reports have focused on Russia’s social media disinformation campaigns and weaponization of US media outlets, people familiar told the outlet.

The Biden administration announced extensive sanctions targeting 32 Russian entities and individuals in April. They were in response to an array of charges including interference in the 2020 election and the SolarWinds cyberattack.

But Republican lawmakers criticized him over not issuing sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany – which after more than a decade of American opposition, Biden agreed to step back from in a win for Putin.

Russian President Putin has so far denied all accusations that the country's meddled in US elections and waged cyberattacks on US entities

Biden has been receiving regular reports on Russian efforts to meddle in the 2022 election, a new report claims

Biden acknowledged the Russian threat in July remarks to staff at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

‘Look at what Russia’s doing already about the 2022 elections in misinformation. It’s a pure violation of our sovereignty,’ he said in his speech.

Former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer Emily Harding confirmed there is ‘a spike in activity around elections,’ but told CNN Russia’s ‘activity is sustained’ beyond campaign cycles. 

The Biden administration failed to meet a deadline set by Congress to levy sanctions for the alleged poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny (pictured behind glass at a Moscow court on February 20th)

The Biden administration failed to meet a deadline set by Congress to levy sanctions for the alleged poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny (pictured behind glass at a Moscow court on February 20th)

Senator Bob Menendez, a top Democrat, criticized the Biden administration for failing to act on a Congressionally mandated deadline of June 2nd to levy sanctions against Russia over the poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny – which the country has denied doing. 

Congress passed the measure under the Trump administration, and neither president made a move to act on it. 

Biden officials have been threatening further actions against Russia since he met with Putin in Geneva in June.  

The meeting was highly-anticipated at a time when relations between Moscow and Washington are at a low.

But with White House officials setting out minimal expectations for progress, Republicans said they feared a public relations win for Putin.

‘Giving Putin a meeting is just the latest win that Joe Biden has handed Russia,’ said Republican Nation Committee communications director Danielle Alvarez. ‘Biden’s foreign policy failures have strengthened Russia at the expense of our country.’  

Their meeting in a book-lined room got off to an awkward start. The two leaders avoided looking directly at each other as journalists jostled for position in a chaotic opening. 

Above the hubbub of reporters and translators, Biden could be heard referencing ‘two great powers.’

Biden could be heard calling Russia a 'great power' during the summit

Biden could be heard calling Russia a ‘great power’ during the summit

The description is an elevation of Moscow’s status on the world stage and President Obama called Russia a regional power when it annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.  

Just weeks later Biden was widely criticized as ‘weak against Putin’  or his allegedly slow response to a global cyberattack that has affected at least 1,000 companies in the United States, and has been linked to Russian hackers.  

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted on Saturday, referencing news from June that Biden had given Russian president Vladimir Putin a list of targets that were off-limits to cyber attacks.

‘Remember when President Biden gave Putin a list of things that were supposed to be off-limits for cyber attacks? What he SHOULD have said is that ALL American targets are off-limits,’ McCarthy tweeted.

 He added: ‘Biden is soft on crime and weak against Putin.’ 

Biden had warned Putin the US would retaliate. After speaking with the Russian president on the phone on July 9th, he told reporters the call ‘went well’ and that he was ‘optimistic.’

'Remember when President Biden gave Putin a list of things that were supposed to be off-limits for cyber attacks? What he SHOULD have said is that ALL American targets are off-limits,' McCarthy tweeted

 ‘Remember when President Biden gave Putin a list of things that were supposed to be off-limits for cyber attacks? What he SHOULD have said is that ALL American targets are off-limits,’ McCarthy tweeted

 The president said he made it ‘very clear’ that when a ransomware attack originates on Russian soil ‘we expect them to act’ even if the attack wasn’t directed by the Russian government.

‘I made it very clear to him that United States expects when ransomware operation is coming from his soil but is not, not sponsored by a state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is,’ he noted.

He also replied ‘yes’ when asked if there would be consequences for Russia but offered no further details. When Biden met with Putin in Geneva in June, he issued his first warning of consequences to come if the cyber attacks persisted.

Biden also said he would personally deliver a message to Putin about the rash of cyber attacks taking place on American companies and groups.

‘I will deliver it to him,’ he told reporters at the White House when asked his message for the Russian president.

It came after a U.S. software firm was hit by a REvil – a Russian cybercriminal group – in a ransomware attack that crippled hundreds of companies worldwide.

Kaseya provides services to more than 40,000 organizations and it was considered the single, largest global ransomware attack on record.  

Biden has faced a slew of criticism for his slow response to the ransomware attack and his failure to ‘get tough’ on Russia despite vowing retaliation if there were any attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure.

Rep. John Katko told DailyMail.com Monday night the U.S. is ‘facing a time of reckoning’ in relations with Russia.

‘Only weeks after President Biden sat down with Putin and allegedly talked a tough game with Russia, hackers from Russia again attacked thousands of U.S. companies, compromising our nation’s critical infrastructure,’ Katko, ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said.

Biden and Putin statements on their phone call 

President Joe Biden’s office and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office released separate readouts of the two leaders phone call on Tuesday.

THE WHITE HOUSE READOUT

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. They discussed a number of regional and global issues, including the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty. 

President Biden also made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to Russia’s actions, such as cyber intrusions and election interference. President Biden emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The President voiced our concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions. 

President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with U.S. interests, and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia.

THE KREMLIN READOUT

The current state of Russia-US relations and certain pressing items on the international agenda were discussed in detail. Joseph Biden confirmed the previously transmitted invitation to the President of Russia to take part in the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, which will be held on April 22–23.

Both presidents expressed their willingness to continue the dialogue on the critical areas of ensuring global security, which would meet the interests not only of Russia and the United States, but the entire international community. In addition, Joseph Biden expressed interest in normalising the state of affairs on the bilateral track and establishing stable and predictable interaction on pressing matters such as ensuring strategic stability and arms control, Iran’s nuclear programme, the situation in Afghanistan, and global climate change.

In this context, the US President suggested considering the possibility of holding a personal summit meeting in the foreseeable future.

When exchanging views on the internal Ukrainian crisis, Vladimir Putin outlined approaches to a political settlement based on the Minsk Package of Measures.

It was agreed to instruct the relevant departments to work through the issues raised during the telephone conversation.


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