Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that some elected officials in the U.S. are doing the work of Russian President Vladimir Putin by sowing distrust and divisiveness during and after the Trump administration.
“When you take an oath to serve the United States, you take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic,” Mrs. Clinton said on MSNBC. “We never thought we had to worry about domestic enemies. We never thought we had to worry about people who didn’t believe in our democracy, in our Constitution, in our separation of powers, in our institutions. And sadly, what we’ve seen over the last four years, and particularly since our election in 2020, is that we have people within our own country who are doing Putin‘s work.
“Now whether they are, as we say, witting or unwitting, they are doing his work to sow distrust, to sow divisiveness, to give aid and comfort to those within our country who, for whatever reason, are being not only disruptive but very dangerous,” said Mrs. Clinton, who served as U.S. secretary of state for the Obama administration and unsuccessfully ran for president as a Democrat in 2008 and 2016.
The summit is the first meeting of the U.S. and Russian presidents since Mr. Biden entered the White House in January. They previously met when Mr. Biden was vice president during the Obama administration.
U.S. intelligence officials have previously assessed that the Russian government under Mr. Putin, its leader for over 20 years, interfered in both the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections.
In each case, officials assess Moscow waged operations to denigrate the Democratic nominee – Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Biden, respectively – and help the Republican candidate, former President Donald Trump.
More recently, Mr. Trump and some of his allies have mounted attacks on the integrity of the 2020 election by raising concerns about how the contest was conducted in light of Mr. Biden winning the race.
“I think President Biden knows he’s got to work on both fronts,” Mrs. Clinton said Wednesday. “We have problems here at home. We’re not well organized. We’re not focused on the future. We’re not making the tough decisions we need to make. We’re letting partisanship, frankly, interfere with patriotism. And we’ve got to lay down some markers for Putin and then follow up with them.”
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