Background Briefing: March 28, 2022


Biden Tries to Make Clear He Was Expressing Moral Outrage, Not Calling For Regime Change in Russia

We begin with today’s press conference following President Biden’s announcement of his budget at which almost all the questions from reporters were about Biden’s recent remark in Poland that “For God’s sake, this man (Putin) cannot remain in power.” Joining us to discuss how much Biden’s rhetoric is complicating or escalating the tense standoff between the two nuclear powers over Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine is Christopher Chivvis, a senior fellow and director of the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. With more than two decades of experience working on U.S. foreign policy and national security challenges, he previously served in the U.S. Department of Defense and most recently served as the U.S. national intelligence officer for Europe at the National Intelligence Council. We discuss his article at The Guardian, “Biden is walking a tightrope with Ukraine. What’s his next step?” and Biden’s refusal today to walk back his remarks making it clear he was expressing moral outrage, not calling for regime change. Biden went on to explain the difference between his personal feelings and policy, saying “People (Putin) like this should not be ruling countries. But they do. The fact that they do doesn’t mean I can’t express my outrage about it.”


An Expert Analysis on the Ties Between Russia’s Intelligence Services and Organized Crime

Then we speak with an expert on the intersection between Russian organized crime and their intelligence services and speak with Olga Lautman, a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis who is also the creator and co-host of Kremlin File podcast series, which features expert discussions on the Kremlin’s internal affairs, global operations, and tactics used from their hybrid warfare toolkit to destabilize Western democracies. Olga’s research focuses on the cross-section of organized crime and intelligence operations in Russia and Ukraine, their impact on the West, and the monitoring of active measures campaigns conducted by the Kremlin to destabilize democratic practices and influence foreign elections. We go over in depth the history of Trump’s ties to the Soviet Union and Russia making the case that Putin controls our former “Traitor-in-chief”. Olga is concerned that if Trump returns to the White House, the first thing he will do is pull the U.S. out of NATO as his opening gift to Putin who she makes clear, as the former head of U.S. Intelligence has done, that Putin is Trump’s case officer.