National Security

Biden: Putin’s Goal for 10 Years Has Been to ‘Delegitimize the West’

In 2012, former VP said Romney was harboring a 'Cold War mindset' for warning about Russia

Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a new interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been trying to delegitimize the West for 10 years, despite previously mocking former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's assessment in 2012 that Russia was America's "number one geopolitical foe."

Biden sat down with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell for an interview that aired on Thursday during which he responded to questions about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

"Is it appropriate for the president to be attacking the FBI, as he has from day one, when the FBI is investigating him?" Mitchell asked.

"Let's assume the FBI wasn't investigating him. Let's assume the FBI was doing bad things. The way to settle it is internally—first fix it, then announce you fixed it, but we're making Vladimir Putin's case here," Biden said. "What is Vladimir Putin's objective the last six, eight, 10 years? It is to delegitimize the West, delegitimize them."

Biden later said that Putin must be sitting behind his desk in the Kremlin and celebrating that the rest of the world thinks the FBI is "not truthful" and "plotting against them."

"My God," Biden said.

Mitchell followed up by clarifying whether Biden knew about Russian meddling in U.S. politics prior to the 2016 election.

"Yes," Biden responded.

Mitchell did not ask Biden about his previous comments mocking Romney for saying that Russia is "our number one geopolitical foe" during a campaign event in 2012.

Biden told a crowd of 500 students at New York University shortly after Romney's comments that he was harboring a "Cold War mindset."

"As my brother would say, go figure," Biden joked. "Sometimes, I don't know if it's a slip of the tongue or a mindset he calls the Russians, Soviets."

Biden also appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation" shortly after Romney's comments on Russia, saying that "he [Romney] acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on, Russia is still our major adversary. I don't know where he has been."

Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said Wednesday on ABC's "The View" that Obama does not regret deriding Romney's warning about Russia.

"The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back," Obama said of Romney's comments in 2012.

Some former Obama administration officials, including Obama's director of speechwriting, Jon Favreau, said last July that Democrats were wrong to criticize Romney's 2012 assessment of Russia.

"Look, I'm willing to say that in 2012 when we all scoffed at Mitt for saying that, gee, Russia was our No. 1 geopolitical foe, think we were a little off there," Favreau said, laughing.