The White House on Wednesday said it has not seen an indication Tara Reade, who has accused President Biden of sexually assaulting her, is part of a Russian influence operation after she shared publicly that she was defecting to the country.
There is “no evidence or proof” of Reade being part of such an operation and no information linking her to an operation out of Moscow, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
“I would let this prospective Russian citizen speak for her intentions and motivations,” Kirby said.
He added it wouldn’t be a surprise if Russian President Vladimir Putin had an interest in making it hard for Biden to win an election.
“It’s a matter of record that Mr. Putin and the Russian government have tried to interfere and actually did interfere in our elections going back as far as 2016, and that’s a matter of record,” he said.
The White House had largely brushed off commenting on Reade seeking Russian citizenship.
“We’d be loathe to comment on the musings of a potential Russian citizen,” Kirby told reporters, adding that Reade’s claims that she feels unsafe with the U.S. government are false.
In an appearance on Russia’s state news agency Sputnik on Tuesday, Reade said she had received threats in the U.S. and that she felt safer in Russia, NPR reported. Reade appeared with Russian agent Maria Butina, who she said might be able to help her with her Russian citizenship.
Earlier Wednesday, White House spokesman Andrew Bates also addressed Reade by saying he “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.”
Reade went public during the 2020 campaign to accuse Biden of sexually assaulting her when she worked as a staffer in his Senate office in 1993, which Biden has denied.
While Reade got some corroboration from people who said she told them about the assault decades ago, other past acquaintances have cast doubt on her credibility.