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Reporter confronts Psaki over Biden's own words promising Putin's days of intimidating US allies would be over with him in WH

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Fox News reporter Peter Doocy grilled White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday over the Biden administration's response to Russian aggression and the invasion of Ukraine.

What is the background?

While campaigning for president, Biden claimed several times that Russian President Vladimir Putin feared the possibility of him being elected president.

"Putin knows that if I am president of the United States his days of tyranny and trying to intimidate the United States and those in eastern Europe are over. I'm going to stand up to him — he's a bully," Biden said in 2019.

In February 2020, Biden also said, "Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be president. He doesn’t want me to be our nominee. If you’re wondering why — it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe to toe with him."

What is the background?

During the White House press briefing, Doocy confronted Psaki with Biden's words and asked how they are consistent with the administration's current response in light of Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

"It’s two and a half years later. [Putin] is intimidating the United States and those in Eastern Europe. What happened?" Doocy asked.

In response, Psaki said Biden has "rallied the world" to push back against Putin, a claim that seems a bit disconnected from reality considering that Putin has thus far moved forward with his military operation in Ukraine.

"I’d hardly put it that way," Psaki said. "I would look at it, actually, from the prism of: The United States and President Biden has rallied the world, rallied Europe to stand up against the efforts and the actions of President Putin."

"You don’t think people who are totally strapped for cash," Doocy tried to respond as Psaki talked over him, "right now are intimidated by $4 gas, $5 gas, however high you guys think it’s going to go? Something like that is not intimidating?"

"You asked me if we were intimidated by President Putin, and I think the evidence of that doesn’t exist," Psaki shot back before abruptly moving onto the next reporter.

Earlier in the briefing, Doocy also questioned whether the Biden administration still believes the biggest threat to the U.S. is climate change. Doocy was referring to remarks Biden made last June, when he claimed that top military commanders told him global warming is "the greatest threat facing America."

Psaki responded by pointing Doocy to the Pentagon, and she did not answer the question directly. Instead, she reiterated that Biden "has no intention of sending U.S. troops into Ukraine to fight in Ukraine."

Doocy also pressed Psaki on the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions against Russia, considering Biden administration officials have made it clear they believe Putin is determined to press forward with operations against Ukraine.

"Why do you guys think that sanctions are going to stop Putin if his goal ultimately is to redraw the map so it looks like it did 70 or 80 years ago? What sanction is going to stop him from doing that?" Doocy asked.

Describing sanctions as a "powerful tool," Psaki explained the Biden administration's "intention is to have a deterrent effect" and to "prevent a large-scale invasion" of Ukraine. She also said sanctions are "not an end" and claimed the sanctions are working.

She did not, however, address specifically how the sanctions will stop Putin from redrawing the eastern European map.

Jen Psaki holds White House press briefing youtu.be

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