A woman whoappeared Tuesday in Moscow and said she was asking President Vladimir Putin for Russian citizenship.
Tara Reade, who worked in now-President Biden's congressional office for a short period in 1993, said she wanted to stay in Russia after a Republican lawmaker told her she was in physical danger.
Reade, 59, said in an interview streamed by the Sputnik media group — a Russian press outlet — that she'd arrived in Russia as a vacationer.
"When I got off the plane in Moscow, for the first time in a very long time, I felt safe. And I felt heard and felt respected," she said. "I'm still kind of in a daze a bit, but I feel very good," she said. "I feel very surrounded by protection and safety."
Reade sparked headlines in early 2020 by claiming in a podcast that Mr. Biden, who was a senator at the time, sexually assaulted her in a Capitol Hill corridor in August 1993, when she was 29.
Her accusation came just as Mr. Biden was ramping up his campaign against incumbent President Donald Trump, who himself hasof sexual abuse and rape.
"It is not true. I'm saying unequivocally it never, never happened," he said.
Reade said she filed a complaint after the alleged incident, but no record of it has been found, and it's not clear if her allegations have ever been formally investigated.
A 1996 court document says her ex-husband mentioned that she'd complained of sexual harassment while working in Mr. Biden's office.
Reade, who called herself a geopolitical analyst, said in the Sputnik interview that after making her allegations public in 2020, she was threatened with prison, her life was threatened, and she was called a Russian agent.
Sitting alongside Maria Butina — a current member of Russia's parliament who wasas an alleged spy for Russia, before being — Reade told the interviewer she has "always loved Russia."
"I do not see Russia as an enemy, nor do many of my fellow American citizens," she said, adding that she had one "large" request.
Though she wants to hold on to her U.S. citizenship, she said she'd "like to apply for citizenship in Russia, from the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. ... I do promise to be a good citizen."
Asked for comment about Reade's request, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates responded Wednesday, "I won't attempt to speak for an aspiring Russian citizen, the convicted Russian spy who's sponsoring her or the foreign government with which she has chosen to align."
According to The Guardian, Reade said of Butina, "I just really so appreciate Maria and everyone who's been giving me [protection] at a time when it's been very difficult to know if I'm safe or not. I just didn't want to walk home and walk into a cage or be killed, which is basically my two choices."
Nancy Cordes contributed to this report.
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