The White House on Wednesday strongly denied that the US government posed any threat to an ex-Senate staffer who has claimed President Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in a Senate office building hallway in the 1990s.
The former staffer, Tara Reade, announced on Tuesday that she has moved to Russia, where she said during an interview with the state-owned Sputnik News website that she feels “surrounded by protection and safety” there.
Asked about her claims in light of her announcement that she has moved to Russia and is seeking citizenship there, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby replied: “We'd be loath to comment on the on the musings of a potential Russian citizen”.
Pressed further on whether the White House believes her allegations against Mr Biden could have been movtivated by an affinity for Russia, Mr Kirby said he “could not get inside her head and speak for her motivations and intentions”.
But he did specifically address Ms Reade’s claim that she has moved to Russia because the US government was a risk to her life, calling those allegations “absolutely false” and “baseless”.
“There’s nothing to that,” he added.
Ms Reade, who worked for Mr Biden during a brief period in 1993, accused the then-former vice president of touching her inappropriately in 2019, when Mr Biden was contemplating entry into the 2020 presidential election. In mid-2020, when he was poised to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, she claimed he’d sexually assaulted her in a heavily-trafficked hallway in the Russell Senate Office Building. Mr Biden has strenuously denied the allegations.
The former Senate staffer’s credibility took a hit after news outlets began scrutinizing her background after she made the assault allegations against Mr Biden. A university she attended, Antioch University, disputed her claim to have earned a Bachelor’s degree while studying there, and former associates came forward to recount instances in which they’d felt she’d been dishonest or deceitful in her dealings with them.
A well known attorney, Douglas Wigdor, terminated an attorney-client relationship with her in May 2020 after it was revealed that she had not earned a degree from Antioch as she’d claimed publicly.