Biden Puts Putin On Notice Like Trump Never Would At Press Conference

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On Wednesday, President Joe Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since taking office, and afterwards, Biden explained at a solo press conference that — among other concerns, like cybersecurity — he pressured Putin over the fate of Alexei Navalny, a prominent Putin critic who’s been jailed by the Putin regime after surviving a poisoning attempt. Biden said that, in the event that Navalny dies, the ensuing consequences “would be devastating for Russia.” Biden explained that what he meant by that was that a serious undercut to Russia’s image and ability to interact internationally would likely unfold following deadly harm to Navalny.

As Biden put it, discussing the potential scenario of Navalny’s death:

‘I made it clear to [Putin] that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia. I’ll go back to the same point. What do you think happens when he’s saying that it’s not about hurting Navalny — it’s all the stuff he says to rationalize the treatment of Navalny — and then he dies in prison? I pointed out to him that it matters a great deal… It’s about trust. It’s about the ability to influence other nations in a positive way… If they do not act according to international norms, then guess what? [Trade] will not only not happen with us; it will not happen with other nations.’

When in office, ex-President Trump refused to even systematically stand up for Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and journalist for The Washington Post who was murdered by Saudi agents, so imagining Trump advocating on behalf of Navalny definitely seems far-fetched. Trump also repeatedly capitulated to Putin’s interests, even calling for his re-admission to the G7 group of world leaders, from which he’d been expelled after Russia invaded the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine. Watch Biden’s starkly contrasting remarks below:

Biden also addressed Putin’s comparison of the treatment by U.S. authorities of the rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6 to the fates of political activists, like Navalny, who have been targeted by Putin’s regime. Putin made those remarks at his own post-summit press conference, and Biden called the comparison “ridiculous.” As he put it:

‘That’s a ridiculous comparison. It’s one thing for — literally — criminals to break through a cordon, go into the Capitol, kill a police officer, and be held unaccountable [versus] people objecting and marching on the Capitol and saying: You are not allowing me to speak freely. You are not allowing me to do A, B, C, or D. And so they’re very different criteria.’

Watch Biden’s remarks below:

As the press conference ended, Kaitlan Collins from CNN called out a question of why Biden was “so confident” that Putin would “change his behavior,” and Biden replied by insisting that he wasn’t personally “confident” of that at all. Collins followed up by questioning how the meeting with Putin amounted to anything “constructive,” and Biden replied by insisting that if Collins doesn’t “understand that” — meaning how it was constructive — then she’s “in the wrong business.” Later, Biden apologized “for having been short,” as he put it.

Watch the remarks below: