A day after a woman who claimed Joe Biden had once sexually assaulted her announced she was applying for Russian citizenship, a top White House spokesman said that her contention that she faced any danger from the United States government is “absolutely false.”
Tara Reade worked as an aide in Joe Biden’s Senate office for less than a year in the early 1990s. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she publicly accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993.
On Tuesday, Reade appeared in Moscow on a Russian state-sponsored broadcast, saying she felt her life was threatened in the U.S. after she came forward with allegations against Biden, and that she was asking President Vladimir Putin for Russian citizenship. During the broadcast, Reade sat with Maria Butina, a member of the Russian parliament and a convicted Russian agent who was jailed in the US before being returned to Russia in 2019.
Asked if the White House had any reaction to Reade saying she felt safer in Russia, John Kirby, the National Security Council’s Coordinator for Strategic Communications, said he’d “be loath to comment on the musings of a potential Russian citizen” and that her motivations and intentions for asking for Russian citizenship were for her to describe. “The one thing I will say is that the allegations that her life is at risk by the United States government—absolutely false,” Kirby said.
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Reade was originally one of eight women who came forward in 2019 to allege that Biden had touched them inappropriately, made them feel uncomfortable, or invaded their personal space in the past. She later expanded her allegations, saying Biden had sexually assaulted her while the two were alone in the Capitol Hill complex in 1993. Biden denied Reade’s allegations in May 2020, saying in an interview on MSNBC that the assault she described “never, never happened.”
After she came forward with allegations against Biden, some critics called Reade’s credibility into question, pointing to, among other details, blog posts she had written praising Putin.
Asked on Wednesday if he had seen any information that would link Reade to a Russian information operation, Kirby said, “I have not.”
Kirby also said “it’s a matter of record that Mr. Putin and the Russian government have tried to interfere and actually did interfere in our elections going back as far as 2016 and that’s a matter of record.”
Added Kirby: “Whether this particular move by this particular individual is some sort of Russian information or propaganda campaign, I just don’t know.”
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