Vice President Joe Biden weighed in Thursday on the recent unverified report about Russia’s compromising information on Donald Trump, giving insight about why members of the intelligence community had decided to brief top government officials of the rumors.
In a lengthy interview with the vice president, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked about the opposition research dossier, a summary of which was included in a two-page addendum to an intelligence report on Russia attempting to influence the U.S. election.
“Was it a mistake for the intelligence community to even include that unverified opposition research disinformation material, the two paged addendum -- even to include it in the briefing papers?” Mitchell asked.
“We asked that question,” Biden said. “Their argument was that this is something that the press already had. Not just here in the United States but other places. That it would be -- they would be -- they didn’t use the word derelict, but it was their obligation to inform not only us but the President-elect that this was out there so that it didn’t come out of the blue and have any impact on the conduct of our foreign policy.”
Biden went on to say that the intel briefing “just mentioned it.”
“They made no judgment about it. They did not say any of this was substantiated. But they felt it was obliged,” he added.
President-elect Donald Trump seemed to blame the intelligence community for the “leak” of the news to the press in tweets Wednesday, even comparing the situation to “Nazi Germany.”
But Biden said he holds out hope that Mr. Trump “will become significantly more informed as to how they work, how they function, how good they are” about the intelligence community.
Of the president-elect separating the White House from his business empire -- which Mr. Trump said Wednesday he would leave to his sons, along with Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg -- Biden cautioned that “he hasn’t done enough.”
If he doesn’t do more, Biden warned, “he may sink in the swamp.”
In his wide-ranging interview, Biden also discussed his decision not to run in the Democratic primary race for president, referencing the death of his son Beau.
“I just wasn’t prepared to do it after I lost my son. and so I -- I have no regret in the sense that did I make the wrong decision? I made the right decision,” he said. “Do I regret that my point of view is not going to be reflected in the next administration because we have Mr. Trump? Yeah, I do regret that.”
The vice president also reflected on his time with the Obamas, saying “this has become a family.”
Sasha Obama, for instance, was “sitting in the living room with my daughter -- my granddaughter studying for a chemistry exam together,” he said. And as for Michelle Obama, “I think Michelle is the finest First Lady in history.”
Of President Obama, Biden said, “I don’t like him, I love him. And it’s a mutual thing. We’ve had each other’s backs and I’ll be there for him, anything he ever wants.”