Biden Says U.S. Will Retaliate Against Russian Hacking 'At the Time of Our Choosing'

By Susan Jones | October 17, 2016 | 7:08am EDT
Vice President Joe Biden campaigns for Hillary Clinton in Bristol, Pa., on Oct. 7, 2016. (AP File Photo)

( - Vice President Joe Biden says the Obama administration will respond to Russian hacking with a "message" that will "have the greatest impact."

Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked Biden on Thursday, "Why haven't we sent a message yet to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin?"

"We're sending a message. We have the capacity to do it," Biden said. "And the message --"

"He'll know it?" Todd interrupted.

"He'll know it," Biden said. "It will be at the time of our choosing. And under the circumstances that have the greatest impact. Look --"

"Will it be enough, do you think, that it will get him to back off? I mean, how concerned are you that the country is actually going to question the result of this election?" Todd asked.

"I am not concerned," Biden said. "The reason I'm not is, we're working very closely with all the departments of elections across the country, number one. Number two, the American people are pretty damn resilient. And the number three, the capacity to do -- to fundamentally alter the election is -- it is not what people think. And I tell you what. To the extent that they do, we will be proportional in what we do. And --"

"So a message is going to be sent? Will the public know it?" Todd asked.

"Hope not," Biden said.

And that ended the topic of Putin and hacking.

Todd and the Clinton campaign are concerned about the recent, embarrassing hack of emails sent to and from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, as well as leaks of Clinton's speeches to big investment banks.

Even before the WikiLeaks email dump, the FBI warned that "bad actors," reportedly Russians, were "poking around" in some voter registration bases. Obama administration officials said the intrusions would have no effect on actual voting systems because those are not connected to the Internet.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Clinton running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said, "I don't give credence to any of these dumped documents because I don't even know if they're accurate." Kaine said one of the emails with his name on it is "completely inaccurate."

On CBS's "Face the Nation," Kaine was asked what Hillary Clinton would do to retaliate against the Russians for the email hacks.

"Well, I have not talked with Hillary about this, but there does need to be a consequence," Kaine said. "When a foreign nation tries to destabilize an American election, which is what Donald Trump encouraged back in late July, he said, hey, Russia, go see if you can cyber-hack and find things that will help me win, but when a foreign government tries to do this, there has to be a consequence.

"There will be time for figuring that -- what that consequence is, but you can't let it go unchallenged, because, if you do, you just -- could encourage more of it."

Kaine said he "can't discern any direct link" between the Trump campaign and the hack of John Podesta's emails, "except for Donald Trump's encouragement."

"It was, I think, during the week of the convention in Philadelphia Donald Trump took a stage, and he basically said, hey, I would encourage cyber-hackers. Russia, see if you can find information on Hillary Clinton that will help me win. You know, that was shocking.

"Later, when he was challenged about it, he said, well, I was just being sarcastic. I don't think it's funny when you have a nation like Russia that has engaged in activity to destabilize elections in countries, Ukraine, Estonia, they have engaged in that activity, and somebody running to be president of the United States shouldn't be encouraging another nation to cyber-hack the U.S."

Kaine also criticized Trump for saying he's not even sure if Russia is doing the hacking.

"And he -- over and over again, he is defending Russia on this, as if Russia isn't involved, even though the director of national intelligence and Justice Department and FBI officials have connected Russia to these attacks.

Why does Donald Trump keep going out of his way to defend Russia on it? He should condemn Russia. In fact, it's even been reported that he's received intelligence assessments laying these attacks at Russia's feet, but, for some reason, he seems to want to defend Vladimir Putin. I don't get it.

Kaine said Trump should be "standing up against people who are trying to destabilize our elections."

Trump supporter Newt Gingrich told ABC's "This Week" that the nation's liberal news media is trying to rig the election:

"I think that, without the unending one-sided assault of the news media, Trump would be beating Hillary by 15 points," Gingrich said. "I think when you look at WikiLeaks and you look at all the things she has said, when you look at the deals in Russia that Bill Clinton made and that The Clinton Foundation made -- I mean, all this nonsense by Kaine about Russia, it's Clinton, Bill Clinton, who got a half-million dollar speech.

"It is the Clintons who got money for The Clinton Foundation from Russia. It is -- it is Podesta (Clinton campaign chairman) who was on a Russian company advisory board that was apparently funded by Putin.

"So the news media's one-sidedness is the worst I've seen in my lifetime and I'm old enough -- that's a fairly long statement."

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