Former vice president Joe Biden, long known for the occasional blunt remark, delivered some zingers at the expense of President Trump in a Tuesday interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
Biden — who is not exactly a Trump fan (he once said he’d like to take Trump “behind the gym”) — called the president a “joke,” criticized the release of the Nunes memo and said Trump’s attacks in the FBI are a dream come true for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also talked about his plans for 2020.
Trump is a ‘joke’
“I just marvel at some of the things he says and does,” Biden said of Trump. “Like, what, two days ago? Anybody who didn’t stand up and clap for him was un-American and maybe even treasonous?”
Cuomo pointed out that the White House said Trump was “clearly joking” when he made the remark.
“Well, let me tell you, he’s a joke,” Biden fired back.
‘Everything that Putin ever wanted’
“This is the first president to make a full-throated, unvarnished attack on the entirety of the FBI,” Biden said.
“What do you think they’re thinking in Moscow?” Biden asked. “This is doing everything that Putin ever wanted: sowing doubt about whether or not our justice system is fair, sowing doubt about whether or not there is anything that’s remotely consistent with our Constitution. It’s a disaster.”
Releasing Nunes memo ‘irresponsible’
Biden said he saw nothing in the declassified Republican memo about FBI surveillance on members of the Trump campaign that raise concerns that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act had been abused for political purpose.
Making the memo public, and allegedly holding back evidence used in the FISA warrant applications, “seems irresponsible to me,” Biden said.
Trump has ‘difficulty with precision’
Biden said if he were the president’s lawyer he would tell Trump not to agree to an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.
“The president has some difficulty with precision,” Biden said, choosing his words deliberately. “One of the things that I would worry about if I were his lawyer is him saying something that was just simply not true without him even planning to be disingenuous.”
Biden also said, “It’s just amazing, the outrageously inaccurate things the president says.”
‘Naked nationalism’ and ‘phony populism’
“We have to reclaim the essence of who we are as a country,” Biden said.
The former vice president said the nation must reject this “dangerous notion of nationalism and we gotta get rid of this phony populism that just is creating space for people to grab power.”
Calling out Russia-Trump ties during election would have been ‘chaos’
When asked if he regretted the Obama administration not making its concerns about Russia meddling on behalf of the Trump campaign public, Biden said, “I think if we had said more about it we would have further undermined the legitimacy of the process.”
And undermining faith in America’s elections was Putin’s primary goal, he added.
If the Obama administration came out two weeks before the election and said the Russians were trying to defeat Hillary Clinton, then it would have just thrown it into chaos.
“But if we knew what we knew in January, it would have been a different story.”
On a 2020 election run
“Barack, the president, asked me all during the end of the last administration, you know, how do you make the judgment?” Biden told Cuomo. “If I can look in the mirror in two and a half, two years, and walk away knowing I’m not walking away because I’m afraid or I don’t have the nerve to try to do the job or I don’t want to make the effort, then I will happily walk away. For real.”
Biden also pointed out that former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were relative unknowns before they were elected, and a similar surprise candidate could arise ahead of 2020.
‘Stop this insanity’
Biden said right now, all his energy is focused on helping the Democrats retake control of the House in order “to stop this insanity and begin to right this ship again.”
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