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Putin responds to Biden calling him ‘killer’, challenges POTUS to debate

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UPDATED @ 4:09 PM (EST) – CORRECTION: BIDEN TO VISIT U.S. STATE OF GEORGIA, NOT THE COUNTRY

Russian President Vladimir Putin responded coldly Thursday to U.S. President Joe Biden considering him a killer by bringing up controversial parts of U.S. history and present-day issues, and challenged Biden to debate him.

In an ABC interview that aired on Wednesday, Biden was asked whether he thought Putin was a killer, to which he replied: “I do.” The comment spurred Russia to recall its ambassador in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, warning of the possibility of an “irreversible deterioration of relations.”

During a Thursday video call commemorating the anniversary of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, Putin was asked about Biden’s remark, and he responded by saying the U.S. has had dark periods in its own history and should acknowledge its shortcomings.

“We often project on other people that which…we are, in essence,” the Russian leader said.

“I would tell him: Be healthy,” Putin went on to say. “I wish him good health. I say this without irony, without joking.”

“I’ve just thought of this now,” Putin told a Russian state television reporter at another point. “I want to propose to President Biden to continue our discussion, but on the condition that we do it basically live, as it’s called. Without any delays and directly in an open, direct discussion. It seems to me that would be interesting for the people of Russia and for the people of the United States.”

Although, after his invitation, the Russian leader said he didn’t want to delay, suggesting he and Biden hold the discussion as early as Friday.

“I don’t want to put this off for long. I want to go the taiga this weekend to relax a little,” Putin said. “So we could do it tomorrow or Monday. We are ready at any time convenient for the American side.”

“We must continue our relations,” he noted. “Last time, President Biden initiated a call and now I would like to offer President Biden to continue our discussions. It would be in the interest of both Russian and the U.S. people and other countries, bearing in mind that we bear a special responsibility for global security as the largest nuclear powers.”

The back-and-forth between the two global heads of state comes after a declassified U.S. intelligence report that found Putin authorized operations to try to help former President Donald Trump to win reelection back in November. The Kremlin has denied the report’s statements, calling it baseless.

In the same ABC interview Wednesday, when asked about the report, Biden vowed that Putin “will pay the price”.

Biden’s administration has warned that Russia would face sanctions soon over its attempt to influence the 2020 presidential election and the massive Solar Wind hacks.

Responding to reporters’ questions, White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday indicated the proposed conversation was unlikely to occur, noted that Biden is scheduled on Friday to visit to Georgia in the wake of the Atlanta-area shootings at massage parlors that killed eight people, six of whom were Asian-American women.

RELATED: Atlanta Shootings: The Latest

“I’ll have to get back to you if that is something we’re entertaining. I would say that the president already had a conversation with President Putin,” Psaki said, noting Biden still had other word leaders to talk with. “The president, of course, will be in Georgia tomorrow and quite busy,” she said.

Psaki also said that Biden will continue to try to work with his Russian counterpart on areas of mutual interest. Though, she said that the U.S. president is “not going to hold back” when he has concerns about Putin’s actions.

Biden had no regrets describing to Putin as a killer, Psaki added.

“President Biden has known President Putin for a long time,” Psaki also said. “They’ve both been on the global stage for a long time, worked through many iterations of a relationship between the United States and Russia. And he believes we can continue to do that.”

She also rejected Putin’s response about the United States’ past and current problems, saying, “The president believes that one of the greatest attributes of the United States is our honest self-reflection, and our constant striving for progress and there’s always more work to do.”

In his Thursday comments, Putin brought up the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan during World War II, as well as its history of slavery and massacring Native Americans.

“Otherwise, where would the Black Lives Matter movement come from?” he said, referencing the killing of Black Americans and racial injustice.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Cruz warns Biden Admin is weaponizing DOJ against Israel in death of journalist

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), warned on Tuesday that weaponizing the Department of Justice against Israel – a staunch allied nation of the United States – is unacceptable in the investigation of the death of a Palestine journalist. Cruz stated that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s actions should end with his impeachment and that the FBI must never be used as a tool against our allies.

Reports surfaced that the U.S. is launching an investigation into the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Israel confirmed the information Monday in multiple media outlets. Israeli officials noted that such an investigation is a “grave mistake.”

NPR Reports:

A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Gantz’s statement. It was not immediately clear when the investigation might have begun and what it would entail. But a probe by the U.S. into Israeli actions was a rare step that could shake the strong alliance between the two countries.

Palestinian officials, Abu Akleh’s family and Al Jazeera accuse Israel of intentionally targeting and killing the 51-year-old journalist, who was wearing a helmet and a protective vest marked with the word “press” when she was shot last May in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, however, said on Twitter Monday, “that we won’t cooperate with any external investigation” conducted by the FBI.

“We will not allow interference in Israel’s internal affairs,” he added. According to reports Abu Akleh is a  Palestinian but also a U.S. citizen.

Cruz, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Judiciary Committees, was responding to recent reports that the Biden administration seeks to open an FBI investigation into Israel. He stated, “everyone involved with this debacle should be fired or impeached – all the way up to Attorney General Garland.”

Joe Biden and his administration view Israel and Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu as political enemies, and so they are responding to them the way they respond to all their political enemies: by unleashing the FBI,” Sen. Cruz stated. “Our Israeli allies have, since the very beginning, cooperated closely with the United States in investigating this incident, and the State Department and Defense Departments had already drawn their conclusions.”

He warned “this outrage underscores how corrupt and blatantly politicized the Justice Department has become, and how entirely beholden to the radical left-wing Squad Democrats really are. This administration has spent its time in office weaponizing the DOJ to target their political enemies as a matter of policy, and now they have allowed that tactic to bleed into their obsession with undermining our Israeli allies.”

The Senator went on Twitter saying that Biden and the administration has weaponized the DOJ “to target their political enemies as a matter of policy, and now they have allowed that tactic to bleed into their obsession with undermining our Israeli allies.”

It’s a fact and we’ve seen how the DOJ, as well as other agencies, have been used against political opponents in the United States, particularly since President Donald Trump took office in 2016. Targeting Israel so openly is all-together new and something that has lawmakers, as well as intelligence officials deeply concerned.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC

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