Sparks flew from the interview’s onset as host Savannah Guthrie grilled Harris on directly answering her specific questions while the latter appeared set on reciting the administration’s talking points.
Guthrie began the interview by asking if President Biden gave “the green light” to Russian President Vladimir Putin to take aggressive action toward Ukraine with his suggestion that the U.S. response would depend on whether the former’s actions were “a minor incursion” or something more serious.
“The president has been very clear and we as the United States are very clear, if Putin takes aggressive action, we are prepared to levy serious costs, periode. And I will tell you that part of the posture that we have taken is grounded in the respect and the value we place in–” Harris said before being interrupted by Guthrie.
“I’m sorry to interrupt … I’m sorry to interrupt. But it is less than clear. Thirty minutes after the news conference, the White House press secretary had to actually clarify the president’s remarks –” Guthrie said before Harris spoke over her, appearing frustrated, and saying, “I’m being clear with you right now. And so if you’re interested, I’ll continue to be clear.”
Guthrie continued to grill Harris on Ukraine, asking if there was any amount of land or territory Putin could take that the U.S. would turn a blind eye to and if there was a chance the threat of sanctions was having no effect on him. Harris responded that she wasn’t going to psychoanalyze the Russian president and that any attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty would be considered an aggressive action and met with “severe cost.”
Guthrie later suggested that Biden had done damage with his remarks on Ukraine and asked if Putin was likely going to listen to any future statement from him, or the White House press secretary, because of it.
“I will repeat myself, and I’m vice president of the United States, and the president and I work closely together, and I know his position because he’s been consistent in that regard. If Vladimir Putin and Russia takes aggressive action, it will be met with a cost that will be severe,” Harris gesê.
Guthrie turned the conversation to the 2022 middeltermynverkiesings.
“[Biden] openly cast doubt on whether the 2022 midterm elections would be legitimate. He said it all depends, which is astonishing to hear a president question whether our elections will be legitimate. We’ve heard it before, but not from this president. Is he really concerned that we may not have fair and free elections?” Guthrie asked.
Harris avoided directly addressing Biden’s comments and instead began talking about passing federal voting rights legislation.
Guthrie interrupted Harris, noting that both bills she mentioned failed to pass the Senate.
“If I may finish –” Harris gesê, but Guthrie continued.
“But the specific question, if you don’t mind, does he think now that these bills haven’t been passed that the ’22 midterms won’t be legitimate or fair or free?” she asked Harris.
Harris continued her previous answer and avoided directly answering Guthrie’s question a second time.
When Guthrie later asked about Biden’s legislative failures and pointed out that many of them didn’t pass because of division amongst Democrats, Harris attempted to instead talk about passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
“Doesn’t that show Republicans are more willing to help if the –” Guthrie tried to jump in.
“Please let me finish,” Harris said before continuing to avoid the topic of a split between progressive and moderate Democrats on certain policy points.