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Biden: U.S. is taking action against Russia for SolarWinds hack

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The President spoke with Vladimir Putin this week.

Video Transcript

[DIGITAL EFFECT]

JOE BIDEN: During the campaign for the presidency, I was unequivocal that if I was elected president, I would respond to any attempt to influence our elections, the last election, and because elections are sacred. They're sovereign undertakings, and are an expression of the will of the American people. And we cannot allow foreign power to interfere in our Democratic process with impunity.

And I told them if it turned out as I thought, that there was engagement in our elections, that I would respond. Later, during the transition, as we learned more about the Solar Wind cyber intrusion, I made clear that I would respond once we determined who had, in fact, conducted a hack on the scope and scale that occurred. When President Putin called me in January after I was sworn in to congratulate me, I told him that my administration would be looking very carefully now that we had access to all the data, at the issues to assess Russia's role. And then determine what response we would make.

When we spoke again this week, I told him that we would shortly be responding in a measured and a proportionate way, because we had concluded that they had interfered in the election and Solar Winds was totally inappropriate. Today I have approved several steps, including expulsion of several Russian officials as a consequence of their actions.

I've also signed an executive order authorizing new measures, including sanctions to address specific harmful actions that Russia has taken against US interests. I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so. I chose to be proportionate.