Russian Dictator Vladimir Putin threw down the gauntlet, inviting U.S. President Joe Biden to a live, virtual discussion following a scathing interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
Biden told the Good Morning America host “Putin will pay a price” for his attempt to interfere in the 2020 and 2016 elections. “You said you know [Putin] doesn’t have a soul,” Stephanopoulos primed the President with, to which Biden affirmed, “yeah I did say that to him… and his response was ‘we understand one another.'” The exchange allegedly happened during a private 1 on 1 meeting with the Kremlin leader.
When asked whether he thinks Putin’s a “killer,” Biden instinctively said, “Mhm, I do,” while nodding his head. Biden went on to give a vague warning, “the price he’s gonna pay, you’ll see shortly.”
When asked by reporters whether Biden regretted his heated language, White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki said, “Nope. The president gave a direct answer to a direct question.” She warned a White House retaliation towards Russia will come within “weeks, not months.”
In response, the Kremlin not only recalled Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. to “analyze what needs to be done in the context of relations with the United States,” but Biden’s comments elicited a direct response from Putin.
When asked for a response by Russian journalist, who’ve been historically punished and restricted by the kremlin if they printed negative stories about Russian leadership, Putin said, “I would tell him: Be healthy. I wish him good health. I say this without irony, without joking.””
During a later interview with a Russian state owned network, the dictator floated the idea of a “live” and “direct discussion” between the world leaders. Putin said, “I’ve just thought of this now. I want to propose to President Biden to continue our discussion, but on the condition that we do it basically live, as it’s called. Without any delays and directly in an open, direct discussion. It seems to me that would be interesting for the people of Russia and for the people of the United States.”
“I don’t want to put this off for long. I want to go the taiga this weekend to relax a little,” Putin added. “So we could do it tomorrow or Monday. We are ready at any time convenient for the American side.”
Unfortunately, Psaki squashed the prospects of a virtual debate. When asked about a potential discussion, the press secretary said, “I’ll have to get back to you if that is something we’re entertaining. I would say that the president already had a conversation with President Putin. The president, of course, will be in Georgia tomorrow and quite busy.”
According to multiple reports, the Russian government, along with the Iranians, worked to spread misinformation ahead of the 2020 election. Russia, in favor of Trump, and Iran in favor of Biden. Putin has also been credibly accused on multiple occasions of using his power to crack down on decenters and murdering opposition journalists and activists.