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Topics in the News: Russia


Donald Trump on Russia: (Principles & Values )
Mueller convicted three Trump aides of lying about Russia

The [Mueller] investigation established that several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to [Mueller's] Office, & to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals. Those lies materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference. [Mueller's] Office charged some of those lies as violations of the federal false-statements statute. Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about his interactions with Russian Ambassador Kislyak during the transition period. George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy advisor during the campaign period, pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about, [among other things], the nature and timing of his interactions with Joseph Mifsud, the professor who told Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on candidate Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. Former Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements Congress about Trump Moscow project.
Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: The Mueller Report, Vol. i, p. 9

Donald Trump on Russia: (Principles & Values )
Trump challenged Russia to hack Hillary's email; Russia did

On July 27, 2016, [the Russian GRU's] Unit 26165 targeted email accounts connected to candidate Clinton's personal office. Earlier that day, candidate Trump made the following public statement: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press." The "30,000 emails" were apparently a reference to emails described in media accounts as stored on a personal server that candidate Clinton had used while serving as Secretary of State.

Within 5 hours of Trump's statement, GRU officers targeted for the first time Clinton's personal office. After candidate Trump's remarks, Unit 26165 created and sent malicious links targeting 15 email accounts. The investigation did not find evidence of earlier GRU attempts to compromise accounts hosted on Clinton's email domain. It is unclear how the GRU was able to identify these email accounts, which were not public.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: The Mueller Report, Vol. i, p. 49

Joe Biden on Russia: (War & Peace Mar 1, 2022)
Make dictators pay a price; American resolve matters

Russia's Vladimir Putin badly miscalculated.

He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead he met a wall of strength he never imagined. He met the Ukrainian people. From President Zelenskyy to every Ukrainian, their fearlessness, their courage, their determination, inspires the world. Groups of citizens blocking tanks with their bodies. Everyone from students to retirees teachers turned soldiers defending their homeland.

Let each of us here tonight in this Chamber send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine and to the world. Throughout our history we've learned this lesson when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression they cause more chaos. They keep moving. And the costs and the threats to America and the world keep rising.

That's why the NATO Alliance was created to secure peace and stability in Europe after World War 2. It matters. American diplomacy matters. American resolve matters.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2022 State of the Union address

Joe Biden on Russia: (War & Peace Mar 1, 2022)
Military & humanitarian assistance, but no troops to Ukraine

Along with 27 members of the European Union, we are inflicting pain on Russia and supporting the people of Ukraine. Putin is now isolated from the world more than ever.

Together with our allies--we are right now enforcing powerful economic sanctions. The U.S. Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs.

Together with our allies we are providing support to the Ukrainians in their fight for freedom. Military assistance. Economic assistance. Humanitarian assistance. We are giving more than $1 Billion in direct assistance to Ukraine.

Let me be clear, our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine. As I have made crystal clear the United States and our Allies will defend every inch of territory of NATO countries with the full force of our collective power.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2022 State of the Union address

Xi Jinping on Russia: (Homeland Security Feb 25, 2022)
Cold War mindsets should be abandoned

Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Russia to negotiate with Ukraine in his first phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin since Moscow attacked its neighbour. Xi told Putin that "cold war mindsets" should be abandoned and the security concerns of different nations should be respected.

He also said conditions in Ukraine had changed drastically. "China supports Russia negotiating with Ukraine to resolve the problem," Xi was quoted as saying. "China's basic position on respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter is consistent."

Click for Xi Jinping on other issues.   Source: South China Morning Post on Ukraine-Russia war

Xi Jinping on Russia: (Homeland Security Feb 25, 2022)
US ignored Russia's bottom line to keep Ukraine out of NATO

Putin said the United States and NATO had long ignored Russia's reasonable security concerns [about keeping Ukraine out of NATO] and repeatedly reneged on their commitments. He said the US and NATO had challenged Russia's strategic bottom line by advancing deployments.

China's assessment of the crisis is being watched closely, with Beijing in a quasi alliance with Moscow and both nations in an increasingly intense stand-off with Washington. Xi and Putin met most recently in February on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

After the meeting, both nations said they opposed the expansion of NATO, describing it as a cold war approach to international affairs. The two nations said no state should ensure its security "at the expense of the security of other states".

Click for Xi Jinping on other issues.   Source: South China Morning Post on Ukraine-Russia war

Kamala Harris on Russia: (Homeland Security Feb 19, 2022)
Target Russian finances to oppose Ukraine invasion

Vice President Kamala Harris told the Munich Security Conference that the Western alliance faced a "defining moment" in the Ukraine crisis and warned Russia's leaders that if they invaded Ukraine, the US and its allies would target not only financial institutions and technology exports to Russia, but also "those who are complicit and those who aid and direct this unprovoked invasion."

"This playbook is all too familiar to us all," she said of the events unfolding near Ukraine's borders. "Russia will plead ignorance and innocence. It will create false pretexts for invasion, and it will amass troop and firepower in plain sight."

Ms. Harris argued in her speech that the crisis had driven NATO allies together. "As President Biden has said, our forces will not be deployed to fight inside Ukraine," she said, touching on--but not exploring--the decision to leave the fighting to Ukraine's own military. "But they will defend every inch of NATO territory."

Click for Kamala Harris on other issues.   Source: New York Times on 2024 Presidential Hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on Russia: (Foreign Policy Feb 8, 2022)
Russia has been clear about keeping Ukraine out of NATO

Russia sees the threat of Ukraine joining the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO), a military alliance originally created in 1949 to confront the Soviet Union. It is good to know some history. When Ukraine became independent after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Russian leaders made clear their concerns about the prospect of former Soviet states becoming part of NATO and positioning hostile military forces along Russia's border. US leaders recognized these concerns as legitimate at the time. They are still legitimate concerns. Invasion by Russia is not an answer; neither is intransigence by NATO. It is also important to recognize that Finland, one of the most developed and democratic countries in the world, borders Russia and has chosen not to be a member of NATO.

Putin may be a liar and a demagogue, but it is hypocritical for the US to insist that we do not accept the principle of "spheres of influence" [which Putin claims as the rationale for keeping Ukraine out of NATO].

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: The Guardian on 2024 Presidential Hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on Russia: (Homeland Security Feb 8, 2022)
Cuba is in US sphere of influence; Ukraine is in Russia's

Putin may be a liar and a demagogue, but it is hypocritical for the US to insist that we do not accept the principle of "spheres of influence". For the last 200 years our country has operated under the Monroe Doctrine. Under this doctrine we have undermined and overthrown at least a dozen governments. In 1962 we came to the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union in response to the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba, 90 miles from our shore, which the Kennedy administration saw as an unacceptable threat to our national security.

To put it simply, even if Russia was not ruled by a corrupt authoritarian leader like Vladimir Putin, Russia, like the United States, would still have an interest in the security policies of its neighbors. Does anyone really believe that the United States would not have something to say if, for example, Mexico was to form a military alliance with a US adversary?

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: The Guardian on 2024 Presidential Hopefuls

Antony Blinken on Russia: (Foreign Policy Jan 9, 2022)
Putin's actions lead to support of Ukraine in NATO

We're going to listen to Russia's concerns. They're going to have to listen to our concerns. If they are proceeding in good faith, we think we can make progress in addressing concerns on both sides that would reduce tensions and deal with improving security. We will do that in close coordination with European allies and partners. We have made very clear to Russia that there's going to be nothing about Europe without Europe. But, ultimately, this is up to President Putin to decide which path he's going to follow.

President Putin talks about lots of things he's concerned about. Yet the very actions he's taken have precipitated much of what he says he wants to prevent. Back in 2014, before Russia invaded Ukraine, 25% of Ukrainians supported Ukraine joining NATO. Now it's about 60%. Similarly, NATO felt compelled to put more forces and equipment on its eastern flank close to Russia. So, it's Putin's actions that are precipitating what he says he doesn't want.

Click for Antony Blinken on other issues.   Source: CNN 2022 "State of the Union" interview of Biden Cabinet

Antony Blinken on Russia: (Foreign Policy Jan 9, 2022)
Russia can't dictate Ukraine's choices and associations

This is bigger even than Ukraine. This goes to some basic principles of international relations that are what guarantee peace and security. The principle that one nation can't simply change the borders of another by force. The principle that one nation can't dictate to another its choices and with whom it will associate. The principle that we can't have countries exerting spheres of influence to subjugate their neighbors. That should be a relic of the past. All of that is what is in play here.
Click for Antony Blinken on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2022 interview of Biden Cabinet

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Health Care Nov 2, 2021)
Increased obligatory medical insurance tax from 3.1% to 5.1%

After the election of Vladimir Putin in 2000, he pushed for significant growth in spending for public health care in Russia. In 2011, Putin announced his plans for large-scale health care reform and pledged to allocate more than 300 billion rubles to improving the health care system in Russia over the next few years. He also increased the obligatory medical insurance tax paid by companies for compulsory medical insurance from 3.1% to 5.1%.
Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: International Student Insurance on Foreign Influencers

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Civil Rights Oct 22, 2021)
Don't care about skin color: no reverse discrimination

Putin outlined his view of Russia's ideology as a counterbalance to what he derided as cancel culture and reverse racism. Here are some quotes from his speech.

"We're surprised to see things happening in countries that see themselves as flagships of progress. The struggle for equality and against discrimination turns into aggressive dogmatism verging on absurdity. Opposing racism is a necessary and noble thing, but the new 'culture of abolition' turns into 'reverse discrimination.' Here in Russia the absolute majority of our citizens don't care what color a person's skin is."

"In the coming era of global readjustment, which may last quite long and whose final outlook is unknown, moderate conservatism is the most reasonable line of conduct."

Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: The Moscow Times on Foreign Influencers

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Families & Children Oct 22, 2021)
Monstrous to teach children that a boy can become a girl

Putin outlined his view of Russia's ideology as a counterbalance to what he derided as the "monstrous" forcing of transgenderism onto children.

"People who dare to say that men and women still exist as a biological fact are almost ostracized. Not to mention the simply monstrous fact that children today are taught from a young age that a boy can easily become a girl and vice versa. Let's call a spade a spade: This simply verges on crimes against humanity under the banner of progress."

Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: The Moscow Times on Foreign Influencers

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Foreign Policy Oct 22, 2021)
May remove Taliban from list of terrorist organizations

[On Afghanistan]: "For our part, we have specific major projects that can be implemented there. Our special services are in contact with the relevant structures in Afghanistan."

"Our expectation is that these people, the Taliban, that now clearly control Afghanistan, will see that the situation develops in a positive way. If that happens, we would decide to take them off the list of terrorist organizations. I think we're coming to that, and Russia's position will be to move in this direction."

Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: The Moscow Times on Foreign Influencers

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Abortion Sep 22, 2021)
Convince women not to have abortions, and help raise child

Russia's government has approved measures aimed at halving the number of abortions carried out in the country before 2025. The plan is part of the government's latest long-term blueprint for improving the demographic situation in the country through 2025, amid a recently resumed decline in population growth.

In his state-of-the-nation address in January 2020, Putin described Russia's declining population as one of the country's biggest problems. "Exiting this demographic trap is our historical duty," he said. "The preservation and growth of our nation is the highest national priority."

One year later, he backed plans to proactively discourage Russian women from terminating pregnancies. "Simply convincing a woman not to have an abortion is obviously important, but what's more important is creating conditions to help the woman and her family in raising the child, placing the child on its feet, and giving the child the possibility to receive a decent education," he said.

Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: Radio Free Europe on Foreign Influencers

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Government Reform Sep 20, 2021)
Barred opponents from running, charges of election fraud

Putin's party has won a parliamentary majority following an election marred by reports of fraud. With almost all of the votes counted, the United Russia party had won nearly 50% of the vote, marking a slight drop in support from the previous election. Mr Putin's biggest critics were barred from running, and there were reports of ballot stuffing and forced voting. Russia's electoral commission rejected claims of widespread irregularities.
Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: BBC on Foreign Influencers

Donald Trump on Russia: (Foreign Policy Jul 15, 2021)
Nobody was tougher on Russia than me, and they respected us

A 2016 report prepared by Putin's expert department recommended Moscow use 'all possible force' to ensure a Trump presidential victory.

Independent experts say the report--"No 32-04\vd"--appears to be genuine.

The UK's former ambassador in Moscow said, "There is no sense Russia might have made a mistake by invading Ukraine. There is a good deal of paranoia. They believe the US is responsible for everything."

Trump did not initially respond to a request for comment. Later, his spokesperson, issued a statement: "This is disgusting. It's fake news, just like˙RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA was fake news. It's just the Radical Left crazies doing whatever they can to demean everybody. It's fiction, and nobody was tougher on Russia than me, including on the pipeline, and sanctions. At the same time we got along with Russia. Russia respected us, China respected us, Iran respected us, North Korea respected us. And the world was a much safer place than it is now with mentally unstable leadership."

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: The Guardian on Trump Impeachment

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Homeland Security Jul 15, 2021)
Moscow's strategic objectives include "social turmoil" in US

Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a "mentally unstable" Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia's national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.

The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present. They agreed a Trump White House would help secure˙Moscow's strategic objectives, among them "social turmoil" in the US˙and a weakening of the American president's negotiating position.

Russia's three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin's signature. By this point Trump was the frontrunner in the Republican nomination race. A report prepared by Putin's expert department recommended Moscow use "all possible force" to ensure a Trump victory.

Independent experts say the report--"No 32-04\vd"--appears to be genuine.

Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: The Guardian on Trump Impeachment

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (War & Peace Jul 15, 2021)
Admit no mistakes in Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea

A 2016 report--"No 32-04\vd"--says sanctions imposed by the US after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea have contributed to domestic tensions. An expert on Russia's spy agencies said, "The Kremlin micromanages most of these operations. Putin has made it clear to his spies since at least 2015 that nothing can be done independently from him. There is no room for independent action."

The UK's former ambassador in Moscow said, "There is no sense Russia might have made a mistake by invading Ukraine. The report is fully in line with the sort of thing I would expect in 2016, and even more so now. There is a good deal of paranoia. They believe the US is responsible for everything. This view is deeply dug into the soul of Russia's leaders."

Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: The Guardian on Trump Impeachment

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Free Trade May 21, 2021)
More preferential agreements with largest trading partners

Putin called for stepping up interaction on free trade agreements between the EAEU states and other countries. In particular, the EAEU should consider conclusion of free trade agreements with Indonesia and Mongolia. "We are in favor of increasing the number of preferential agreements with our largest trading partners," Putin said. Member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: Tass Russian News Agency on Foreign Influencers

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Gun Control May 11, 2021)
School shooting leads to tightening of gun laws

Gunfire and explosions erupted at a school in central Russia on Tuesday, killing seven students and two school employees, according to witnesses and officials who blamed a teenager for the rare mass shooting in the country. Within hours, President Vladimir V. Putin said he had ordered a tightening of Russia's already restrictive laws on civilian gun ownership, a move that is likely to be implemented in the country's top-down political system.
Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: N.Y. Times on Foreign Influencers

Joe Biden on Russia: (Foreign Policy Apr 22, 2021)
Sanctions on Russia for interference in 2020 election

PROMISE MADE: (CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper, Sep 17, 2020): [Russia] attempting to interfere with our election is a violation of our sovereignty. I don't mean war. But they'll pay an economic price.

PROMISE KEPT: (CNN, 4/15/21): The Biden administration slapped sweeping sanctions on Russia over Moscow's alleged interference in the 2020 election, the massive SolarWinds hack and the ongoing occupation of Crimea, signaling it is adopting a tougher posture toward the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

ANALYSIS: President Trump denied all sanctions against Russia for interference in the 2016 presidential election; that was the focus of the first Trump impeachment. The Mueller Report detailed Russian interference, but Trump referred to it as "the Russia Hoax" and "Fake News." Biden's action signifies that the United States no longer considers Russian actions to be a hoax.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: CNN on Mueller Report and Biden Administration promises

Joe Biden on Russia: (War & Peace Apr 22, 2021)
Criticized Trump on Russian bounties; then did nothing

PROMISE KEPT: (Presidential Debate at Belmont University in Nashville, 10/22/20): I don't understand why this President [Trump] is unwilling to take on Putin when he's actually paying bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, when he's engaged in activities that are trying to destabilize all of NATO. I don't know why he doesn't do it but it's worth asking the question. Why isn't that being done?

PROMISE BROKEN: (CNN, 4/15/21): A senior Biden administration official said the US intelligence community had only "low to moderate confidence" in the information about bounties, and said Biden was not taking action to punish Moscow on the issue. "We have conveyed through diplomatic and intelligence channels strong direct messages on this issue," a senior administration official said, saying that if a pattern of behavior continues--presumably with a greater degree of confidence--the US would respond.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: CNN on Mueller Report and Biden Administration promises

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Budget & Economy Apr 21, 2021)
Focus on ensuring growth of real incomes of citizens

Putin outlined a host of new spending pledges and schemes designed to give hard-pressed Russian families a little extra cash in the run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled later this year. "The main thing is to ensure the growth of real incomes of citizens," Putin told the assembled parliamentarians and regional governors who had gathered for the address. "We must restore real incomes and ensure further growth, to achieve tangible results in the fight against poverty," he added.
Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: The Moscow Times on Foreign Influencers

Bill Nelson on Russia: (Technology Mar 18, 2021)
Cutting NASA budget could cause US to fall behind in space

After then-President Barack Obama moved to slash funding for NASA's moon mission program in 2010, Nelson told CNN the decision could cause the US to fall behind other countries in space exploration. "If they don't push hard now for research and development of the new big rocket that'll take us out of low-Earth orbit and let us explore the heavens, then we are going to be falling behind China and Russia, and that's something I don't think will sit well with the American people."
Click for Bill Nelson on other issues.   Source: CNN.com on 2021 Biden Transition

Lloyd Austin on Russia: (Homeland Security Mar 4, 2021)
Ready to respond to threats, imposing costs where necessary

Even as we address China, we will ensure that we remain fully ready to respond to and effectively deter threats emanating from Russia, Iran, and North Korea, and disrupt transnational and non-state actor threats from violent extremist organizations, such as those operating in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. We will seek to impose cost where necessary, while using all of our tools to lower the risk of escalation with our adversaries and respond to challenges below the level of armed conflict.

The Department will innovate at a speed and scale that matches a dynamic threat landscape. This will require advances in our joint warfighting concepts and a commitment to rapid experimentation and fielding of capabilities. Where necessary, we will divest of legacy systems and programs that no longer meet our security needs, while investing smartly for the future. In turn, we will improve the efficiency of the force and guarantee freedom of action in contested, complex operating environments.

Click for Lloyd Austin on other issues.   Source: USNI News on 2021 Biden Administration

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Crime Feb 28, 2021)
Opposition leader sentenced to notorious penal camp

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has begun serving his two-and-a-half-year sentence at a notorious penal camp. Konstantin Kotov, an opposition activist who was freed 1« years at the same prison, said he was subjected to constant intimidation. This included repeated punishment for not saluting a prison guard or borrowing someone's gloves -- with those that his relatives sent him not being delivered -- as well as isolating him from other inmates.
Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: Bloomberg News on Foreign Influencers

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Technology Feb 22, 2021)
Sanction online platforms for censoring Russian media

Over the last decade, Russian authorities have built legal tools and technical capacities to be able to control internet infrastructure and digital content. Moscow's most recent attempt to tame the internet consists of a pair of bills signed by President Putin on December 30, 2020 that sanction online platforms for censoring Russian media and fines them for not removing information banned in Russia.
Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: Council on Foreign Relations on Foreign Influencers

Lloyd Austin on Russia: (Foreign Policy Feb 5, 2021)
China most significant challenge going forward

During his confirmation hearing, Austin called China "the most significant challenge going forward," adding that Russia, though "in decline," was also a challenge.
Click for Lloyd Austin on other issues.   Source: CNN, "Pentagon Chief," on Biden Cabinet

Joe Biden on Russia: (Foreign Policy Feb 4, 2021)
Meet advancing authoritarianism, including China & Russia

We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday's challenges, but today's and tomorrow's. American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy.

We must meet the new moment accelerating global challenges--from the pandemic to the climate crisis to nuclear proliferation--challenging the will only to be solved by nations working together and in common. We can't do it alone. We must start with diplomacy rooted in America's most cherished democratic values: defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal rights, respecting the rule of law, and treating every person with dignity.

That's the grounding wire of our global power. That's our inexhaustible source of strength. That's America's abiding advantage.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Manchester Ink Link on 2020 New Hampshire Senate race

Joe Biden on Russia: (Homeland Security Feb 4, 2021)
Extend the New START Treaty for five years with Russia

By leading with diplomacy, we must also mean engaging our adversaries and our competitors diplomatically, where it's in our interest, and advance the security of the American people. That's why, yesterday, the United States and Russia agreed to extend the New START Treaty for five years to preserve the only remaining treaty between our countries safeguarding nuclear stability.

At the same time, I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions--interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens--are over. We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people. And we will be more effective in dealing with Russia when we work in coalition and coordination with other like-minded partners. The politically motivated jailing of Alexei Navalny and efforts to suppress freedom of expression are a matter of deep concern.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Manchester Ink Link on 2020 New Hampshire Senate race

Antony Blinken on Russia: (War & Peace Feb 4, 2021)
Talked with Russia about need for new arms control

Blinken spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Secretary Blinken and Minister Lavrov discussed the New START extension and the need for new arms control that addresses all of Russia's nuclear weapons and the growing threat from China. The Secretary raised Russian interference in the 2020 United States election, its military aggression in Ukraine and Georgia, the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny, and the SolarWinds incident, among other issues.
Click for Antony Blinken on other issues.   Source: Biden Administration Press Release from state.gov

Antony Blinken on Russia: (Foreign Policy Feb 1, 2021)
Deeply disturbed by crackdown on protestors in Russia

We are deeply disturbed by this violent crackdown against people exercising their rights to protest peacefully against their government, rights that are guaranteed to them in the Russian constitution. I think the Russian Government makes a big mistake if it believes that this is about us. It's not. It's about them. It's about the government. It's about the frustration that the Russian people have with corruption, with kleptocracy.

We're reviewing a series of Russian actions that are deeply, deeply disturbing. Interference in our elections, the use of cyber tools in the so-called SolarWinds attack that Russia appears to be responsible for getting into computer networks both public and private, and finally, we have the reported bounties on American troops in Afghanistan. Depending on the findings of those reviews, we will take steps to stand up for our interests and stand against Russian aggressive actions.

Click for Antony Blinken on other issues.   Source: MSNBC interview: Secretary of State (Biden Cabinet)

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Principles & Values Jan 19, 2021)
Has given the church a major voice in society

Putin, dressed in nothing but a pair of blue swimming trunks, immersed himself in the freezing water of a cross-shaped pool near Moscow, observing an Orthodox Christian ritual to mark the feast of Epiphany. Putin, 68, grew up under Communist rule where open shows of religion were frowned upon. As president, he has become a frequent attender of Russian Orthodox ceremonies, and has given the church a major voice in society.
Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: Reuters News Service on Foreign Influencers

Jennifer Granholm on Russia: (Principles & Values Dec 16, 2020)
Supported investigation over Russian collusion

Jennifer Granholm heavily promoted claims that President Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election, even mentioning an unsubstantiated "pee tape." She also called for an "independent investigation of Russia/Trump collusion" after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey while the agency was investigating such claims.
Click for Jennifer Granholm on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday on 2021 Biden administration

Jennifer Granholm on Russia: (Foreign Policy Dec 15, 2020)
Long critical of Trump's Russia connections

President-elect Biden's choice to helm the Department of Energy, former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, has a history of publicly promoting theories about Russian collusion in the 2016 election. Granholm began pushing the notion that President Donald Trump was enamored of Russia in mid-2015. The former governor, in particular, was an early proponent of the idea that Trump's reluctance to release his tax returns during the 2016 contest might have been tied to business dealings in Russia.
Click for Jennifer Granholm on other issues.   Source: Breitbart blog on Biden Cabinet, "Russia Conspiracy"

Donald Trump on Russia: (Principles & Values Nov 25, 2020)
Pardons Michael Flynn and Roger Stone in Russia probe

President Trump pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn despite Flynn's guilty plea to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts. The pardon, coming in the waning days of the Trump administration, takes direct aim at a Russia investigation that he has long insisted was motivated by political bias.

"It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon," Trump tweeted. "Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family!"

Flynn is the 2nd Trump associate convicted in the Russia probe to be granted clemency by the president. Trump commuted the sentence of longtime confidant Roger Stone just days before he was to report to prison. It is part of a broader effort to undo the results of an investigation that for years has shadowed his administration and yielded criminal charges against a half dozen associates.

The action voids the criminal case against Flynn. Democrats lambasted the pardon, calling it undeserved & unprincipled.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Columbia Daily Tribune on 2020 Trump Cabinet

Susan Rice on Russia: (Government Reform Nov 11, 2020)
Provided in-depth information during Trump transition

Former Ambassador Susan Rice frames the danger involved in depriving President-elect Joe Biden of access to top intelligence briefings normally afforded to the incoming commander in chief of our armed forces.

Susan Rice recounts her own experience of working through three transitions, including from Obama to Trump. She describes how she "laid out in depth the numerous challenges (Trump) would confront immediately--from the campaign to defeat the Islamic State to threats posed by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. I stressed the need to be prepared for less obvious threats, like the potentially catastrophic collapse of the Mosul Dam in Iraq and pandemic disease."

The reaction from Trump and his people was typical both in its arrogance and blithe disinterest.

Rice notes that in the current "transition phase," Trump's people have denied the Biden team access to intelligence briefings with respect to national security threats, COVID-19, and related economic issues.

Click for Susan Rice on other issues.   Source: DailyKos blog on Biden Cabinet

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Abortion Oct 27, 2020)
Dissuade women from abortion due to population decline

Putin has urged the government to improve abortion prevention strategies in an effort to reduce the number of terminated pregnancies and offset Russia's population decline. Improving access to legal, psychological and medical assistance through the maternity insurance program is outlined in Putin's order as a key measure expected to dissuade women from abortion.
Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: The Moscow Times on Foreign Influencers

Donald Trump on Russia: (Energy & Oil Oct 22, 2020)
The Paris Accord is not fair to U.S.

TRUMP: The [Paris Climate Accord], I took us out because we were going to have to spend trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly. When they put us in there, they did us a great disservice, they were going to take away our businesses. I will not sacrifice tens of millions of jobs, thousands and thousands of companies because of the Paris Accord, it was so unfair. China doesn't kick in until 2030, Russia goes back to a low standard, and we kicked in right away.

BIDEN: Climate change is an existential threat to humanity. I was able to get environmental organizations--as well as people worried about jobs--to support my climate plan. Because it will create millions of new good paying jobs, we're going to take 4 million buildings and 2 million homes and retrofit them so they don't leak as much energy, saving hundreds of millions of barrels of oil in the process and creating significant number of jobs.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Third 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Kristen Welker

Joe Biden on Russia: (Government Reform Oct 22, 2020)
Any country that interferes in US elections will pay a price

Q: On the security of our elections: top intelligence officials confirmed that both Russia and Iran are working to influence this election. What would you do to put an end to this threat?

BIDEN: I asked everyone to take the pledge: Any country, no matter who it is, that interferes in American elections will pay a price. They will pay a price. And it's been overwhelmingly clear this election--I won't even get into the last one--this election, that Russia has been involved, China's been involved to some degree, and now we learn that Iran is involved. They will pay a price if I'm elected. They're interfering with American sovereignty. That's what's going on right now. They're interfering with American sovereignty. I don't think the President has said anything to Putin about it. I don't know why he hasn't said a word to Putin about it. His buddy Rudy Giuliani--he's being used as a Russian pawn. He's being fed information that is Russian that is not true. And then what happens? Nothing happens.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Third 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Kristen Welker

Donald Trump on Russia: (Principles & Values Oct 22, 2020)
The Mueller investigation was an expensive witch hunt

TRUMP: There has been nobody tougher than me on Russia, between the sanctions, between all of what I've done with NATO. I've got the NATO countries to put up an extra $130 billion a year. That's to guard against Russia. While he was selling pillows and sheets, I sold tank busters to Ukraine.

BIDEN: Every single person, when he was going through his impeachment, said I did my job impeccably, not one single solitary thing was out of line. The guy who got in trouble in Ukraine was this guy trying to bribe the Ukrainian government to say something negative about me, which they would not do and did not do because it never ever, ever happened.

TRUMP: I was put through a phony witch hunt for three years. It started before I got elected. They spied on my campaign. Let me just say this, Mueller and 18 angry Democrats and FBI agents all over the place spent $48 million. They went through everything I had, including my tax returns, and they found absolutely no collusion and nothing wrong.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Third 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Kristen Welker

Donald Trump on Russia: (Tax Reform Oct 15, 2020)
I am under-leveraged, despite $421 million in debt

Q: The New York Times reports that you owe $421 million--is any owed to foreign sources like the Russians?

TRUMP: I'm very underlevered. I have a very, very small percentage of debt compared. In fact, some of it, I did as favors to institutions that wanted to loan me money. $400 million compared to the assets that I have, all of these great properties all over the world, and frankly, The Bank of America building in San Francisco.

Q: Are you confirming that you do owe some $400 million?Q: Will you release your tax returns so we can see that?

TRUMP: It turned out that I am under audit. No person in their right mind would release, prior to working out the deal with the IRS.

Q: There is no law or rule that prohibits you from releasing your tax returns.

TRUMP: No, except common sense, and intelligence. I would love to release them, and as soon as we come to a conclusion, I will release them, and very gladly.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Second 2020 Presidential Debate/NBC Town Hall Miami

Kamala Harris on Russia: (War & Peace Oct 7, 2020)
Trump does not care about troops' injuries or deaths

HARRIS: There was a counter strike on our troops in Iraq, and they suffered serious brain injuries, and do you know what Donald Trump dismissed them as? Headaches. This is a pattern where he referred to our men who are serving as suckers and losers. Public reporting said Russia had bounties on the heads of American soldiers. Donald Trump had talked at least six times to Vladimir Putin and never brought up the subject.

PENCE: My son is in captain in the United States Marine Corps. My son-in-law's deployed in the United States Navy. I can assure all of you with sons and daughters serving in our military, President Donald Trump, not only respects, but reveres all of those who serve in our armed forces and any suggestion, otherwise is ridiculous. Let me also say the American people deserve to know-

Click for Kamala Harris on other issues.   Source: 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate in Utah

Donald Trump on Russia: (Health Care Sep 29, 2020)
COVID: We don't know how many died in China, Russia, India

If we would've listened to [Biden and the Democrats], the country would have been left wide open, millions of people would have died, not 200,000. And one person is too much. It's China's fault. It should have never happened. They stopped it from going in, but it was China's fault. And, by the way, when you talk about numbers, you don't know how many people died in China. You don't know how many people died in Russia. You don't know how many people died in India. They don't exactly give you a straight count, just so you understand.
Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace

Vladimir Putin on Russia: (Technology Sep 24, 2020)
Supports holding esports tournaments in schools

Putin expressed support for holding esports tournaments in schools to help Russian gamers perform better at an international level. Among the first nations to officially recognize esports as a sports discipline in 2016, Russia looks to make esports culture a larger part of the school curriculum. Reports suggested that Putin legitimizing esports in schools will "contribute to the destruction of clich‚s in the minds of many parents that computer games are a pure evil," according to Realnoe Vremya.
Click for Vladimir Putin on other issues.   Source: Inside the Games e-zine on Foreign Influencers

Joe Biden on Russia: (Foreign Policy Sep 17, 2020)
Russia is an opponent, not an enemy

Q: The FBI Director said that Russia has been "very active in its efforts to influence the election & denigrate" you.

BIDEN: Putin knows me; the reason he doesn't want me as president: he knows I mean it [when I say that Russia] attempting to interfere with our election is a violation of our sovereignty. I don't mean war. But they'll pay a price. They'll pay a price for it, and it'll be an economic price. I've made it clear, early on, there will be a price to pay. And if it's done again, which it appears to be being done, there will be a price to pay.

Q: Can you be more specific? What is the price to pay?

BIDEN: It wouldn't be prudent for me to be more specific. But I assure you, they will pay a price.

Q: Do you believe Russia is an enemy?

BIDEN: I believe Russia is an opponent. I really do. Putin's overwhelming objective is to break up NATO, to fundamentally alter the circumstance in Europe, so he doesn't have to face an entire NATO contingent, any one country he is stronger than.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper

Joe Biden on Russia: (Free Trade Sep 17, 2020)
China is a competitor, not an opponent

Q: Do you believe Russia is an enemy?

BIDEN: I believe Russia is an opponent.

Q: Do you view China as an opponent? The President says you've been too cozy with China, too accepting of them in the international community.

BIDEN: I'm not that guy. We now have a larger trade deficit than we've ever had with China. [Trump in a negative way] keeps going on about the World Trade Organization; they just ruled that his trade policy violated [WTO rules with its tariffs on China]. In our Administration, when the WTO [was dealing with China], we sued. We went to the World Trade Organization 16 times, 16 times.

Q: Do you view China as an opponent?

BIDEN: I view China as a competitor.

Q: Competitor?

BIDEN: A serious competitor. That's why, I think, we have to strengthen our relationships and our alliances in Asia. As you may recall, when I was in China, I said to Xi, "We're going to abide by international norms. That's what we're going to do and insist that they do."

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper

Joe Biden on Russia: (Government Reform Sep 17, 2020)
Push plan to make voting machinery & process secure

Q: How will you handle Russia's interfering in the election and compromising the voting system of the United States?

BIDEN: One of the things we have to do is make sure that we investigate exactly what involvement there has been in our election and to protect against it. One of the things we have to do as well is provide the states with the wherewithal to be able to upgrade their [voting] lists, their machinery, and to make sure their encryption is safe for the voting rolls, and makes it more difficult to have cyber intrusions into anything that's being done. That requires money. There is a plan that's been put together in the Senate, by the Democrats, and I would push that plan. But it requires us to help states provide for the wherewithal to change the nature of the machinery. And I think we have to be able to be in a position where you have a paper ballot left after what happens with regard to the actual counting and the voting machine.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper

Donald Trump on Russia: (War & Peace Sep 8, 2020)
Hard line against Russia: sanctions & diplomatic expulsions

Unlike the Obama administration, the Trump administration had actually taken a hard line against Russia, which the media hardly ever reported because it didn't fit their Trump-Russia collusion narrative. Since taking office, President Trump had imposed crippling sanctions on Russia; closed Russian diplomatic properties in the United States and expelled Russian spies pretending to be diplomats; approved the sale of lethal arms to Ukraine to defend against Russian aggression; persuaded NATO allies to increase their military spending to deter Russia; isolated and sanctioned Russia's worst proxies: Iran and Venezuela; made America the number one producer of oil and gas, lowering the cost of energy and hurting the Russian economy; and rebuilt our military so that neither Russia nor any other foreign adversary could challenge the United States.
Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Speaking for Myself, by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, p.167-8

Donald Trump on Russia: (Health Care Sep 5, 2020)
FactCheck: No, America has tested less than Europe combined

Trump claimed in his Aug 28 convention speech that "America has tested more than every country in Europe put together." The U.S. has tested many millions of people, but that statement isn't true: