Democratic frontrunner and former VP Joe Biden has been mocked for saying that no election interference happened on his watch. Some took his words as a denial of the establishment narrative about 2016 ‘Russian meddling’.
Risking an own goal against fellow politicians and the ‘intelligence community’, which accuse Russia of meddling in the 2016 US election to sow discord and help Donald Trump ascend to the presidency, Biden told CNN on Friday that no election interference happened on his watch, as he unloaded on both Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While Putin’s trying to undo our elections, he’s actually undoing elections in Europe. Look at what’s happening in Hungary, look what’s happening in Poland, look what’s happening! You think that would happen on my watch or Barack’s watch? You can’t answer that, but I promise it wouldn’t have, and it didn’t,” Biden told host Chris Cuomo.
The counter-intelligence probe into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia that later grew into the full-blown Russiagate conspiracy theory, was launched by the FBI in July 2016, half a year before Biden and Obama left the White House. The events that were scrutinized by federal investigators and later by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team on their desperate hunt for a Trump-Russia connection, including the infamous Trump Tower meeting of June 2016, all happened on Biden’s watch. Cuomo, however, didn’t challenge the ex-VP on the timing discrepancies.
The self-confessed Gaffe Machine’s words prompted derision as well as confusion on Twitter, with some asking if Biden has suddenly broken ranks with fellow Democrats in their belief there had been a Kremlin-led malicious campaign to undermine American democracy.
“So Biden’s admitting that Putin and Russia didn’t interfere with the election that happened during his watch?” one person wrote.
Some went as far as urging Biden to retire from politics, calling his campaign a “disaster.”
Biden emerged as the clear frontrunner in the Democratic Party primary race before the first debate, which saw the veteran politician’s lead dwindle. A poll last week showed Senator Kamala Harris (17 percent) only five percentage points behind Biden (22 percent).