Joe Biden’s brutal swipe at Vladimir Putin laid bare: ‘You have no soul!’

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The Democratic nominee is leading Donald Trump in the national polls for the Presidential election next month, but that does not guarantee a victory. Hillary Clinton also had a clear lead over Mr Trump in the polls for almost the entire 2016 campaign but ended up losing. As the race to the White House heats up, an assessment from a top US official warns foreign powers will use “covert and overt influence measures” to try to sway US voters, singling out Russia, China and Iran.

Mr Biden has warned President Vladimir Putin that Russia would pay an “economic price” for continuing to interfere in US elections.

Mr Biden added: “There’ll be a price to pay.

“Putin knows me. The reason he doesn’t want me as President is that he knows me and knows I mean it.”

It was during a previous visit to the Kremlin that Mr Biden is said to have got a first-hand taste of Mr Putin, who was Prime Minister at the time.

He told the New Yorker in 2011: “I said, ‘Mr Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.

“He looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.’”

US intelligence believes Russia tried to sway the vote in favour of Mr Trump in 2016. 

They highlight meetings between his team and Russian officials, a cyberattack against Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the targeting of state voter databases, and efforts to amplify false or partisan material online.

Last month a Republican-led Senate panel gave further support to the view Russia wanted Mr Trump to win, concluding his campaign was an easy target for foreign influence but stopping short of alleging criminal conspiracy.

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And they now fear history could repeat itself. 

In his assessment, intended to be read by the American public, the head of the National Counterintelligence and Security Centre (NCSC) William Evanina said Russia was “using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice-President Biden”. 

In the view of FBI director Christopher Wray, Russia has never stopped meddling, calling efforts in the 2018 congressional elections a “dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020”.

But Russia has constantly denied the claims and a Kremlin spokesman called accusations of meddling “paranoid announcements” that had “nothing to do with the truth”.

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President Trump has also frequently downplayed allegations of Russian interference, putting him at odds with his own intelligence experts.

After a 2018 summit with Mr Putin, asked whether he believed the US intelligence community or the Russian president about the claims Mr Trump said: “President Putin says it’s not Russia.  

“I don’t see any reason why it would be.” 

Mr Trump later said he had misspoken. 

With traditional campaigning methods but to the side because of the pandemic, Mr Biden is hoping to boost support for his candidacy in Pennsylvania, a battleground state that Mr Trump won in an unexpected victory over Mrs Clinton.

Mr Biden leads Mr Trump by 4.3 points in the state, according to an average of recent polls by Real Clear Politics.

Now, with Mr Trump in hospital, his Vice President Mike Pence will step up in campaigning efforts. 

Mr Pence has public campaign events planned in Arizona, Nevada and Washington DC, and will travel to Salt Lake City for Wednesday’s vice-presidential debate with Kamala Harris.

The Trump team is hoping for a strong performance to turn things around.

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