Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed in an interview televised Sunday that Russians have worked to block him from winning the Democratic nomination and claimed bots on Facebook said “Biden is a bad guy.” Biden later admitted his claims were not based on anything he had been told by intelligence officials, but secondhand from his own staff, Fox News reports.
Biden’s revelation follows the Washington Post report on Friday that says U.S. intelligence officials told Sanders that Russian President Vladimir Putin was interfering in the Democratic primary race and was trying to help his campaign. The information caused some confusion, especially after CNN urged caution on previous reports claiming the Russians aimed to help President Trump’s reelection campaign.
“I’m the person most likely to beat Trump,” Biden told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” anchor Margaret Brennan.”The Russians don’t want me to be the nominee. They spent a lot of money on bots on Facebook and they’ve been taken down, saying Biden is a bad guy. They don’t want Biden running. They’re not — no one’s helping me to try to get the nomination. They have good reason.”
Pressed further on the matter, Biden replied, “I have not spoken to the intelligence community, but I think the intelligence community should inform the rest of us who are running what they told Senator Sanders. .. I was told that there are a lot of bots on Facebook, and they’ve been all taken down. … Fake accounts, yes, and they’re taken down, but I — I don’t know who — I didn’t get a call from Facebook, but I was told by my — my staff that’s what happened.”
.@JoeBiden says Facebook alerted his staff of fake accounts belonging to Russian bots targeting his campaign, says that intelligence agencies should brief other campaigns on Russian interference pic.twitter.com/ca8MLRQsLm
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 23, 2020
Biden defended the Obama Administration’s response to Russia’s 2016 election interference, even though a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee faulted Obama’s actions earlier this year.
“Not at all,” Biden told Brennan when asked whether he agreed with the report’s conclusions. “Look, we went out and went to the committee, went to the Republican leadership and said, ‘Look, this is what we have.’ I didn’t, but the intelligence community did. ‘This is what we have. Why don’t you join us in condemning what’s happening?’ And, the Republican leader of Senate said, ‘No, I want no part of it- joining in what is happening.’ And, everything that came up subsequently to that reinforced what we were saying was going on.
“The committee found that the decisions to limit and delay the information flow regarding the 2016 Russian active measures campaign, while understandable, inadvertently constrained the administration’s ability to respond,” the report read.
Senate Intel.Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., told NPR: “I think the Obama administration, with the benefit of hindsight, should have acted more aggressively.”
Asked whether there were lessons for the Trump administration in the report, Biden responded curtly, “Look, this administration is incapable of learning elections.”
Meanwhile, Biden also said he “feels good” about his 2020 election chances, even though he has fallen well behind Sanders in the race for the presidential nomination.
“I don’t know,” Biden said, when asked if he could stop Sanders. “It’s not about who I stop. It’s why I’m running, why I’m telling the people that I should be the next president and why I’m the best guy to beat Trump.”