After Trump Win, Biden Warns Russia Will 'Meddle' in European Elections Too

America's outgoing vice president says Russia's purpose is to 'collapse the liberal international order' and 'return to a politics defined by spheres of influence.'

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 17, 2017.
SPUTNIK/REUTERS

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, in his last major speech before leaving office, described Russia on Wednesday as the biggest threat to the international liberal order and said Moscow would try to influence looming elections in Europe as it is accused of doing in the United States. 

Trump has sent conciliatory signals to Putin and seemed to encourage the disintegration of the European Union by praising Britain's decision to leave the bloc and predicting that more countries could bolt. 

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gestures during a campaign speech for Hillary Clinton, Tampa, Florida, November 2, 2016.
Chris O'Meara, AP

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Biden pushed back forcefully against Trump's message, warning hundreds of leaders, CEOs and bankers that Putin was likely to try to influence a series of elections in Europe this year, as it is accused of doing in the recent U.S. vote. 

"Under President Putin, Russia is working with every tool available to them to whittle away at the edges of the European project, test the fault lines of western nations and return to a politics defined by spheres of influence," Biden said. 

"With many countries in Europe slated to hold elections this year, we should expect further attempts by Russia to meddle in the democratic process. It will occur again, I promise you. And again the purpose is clear: to collapse the liberal international order," Biden added. 

He did not address Trump directly, but warned of a "dangerous willingness to revert to political small-mindedness" in politics and said that "dangerous autocrats and demagogues" had tried to capitalize on people's fears throughout history. 

Biden called Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which states that an attack on one member of the transatlantic military alliance is considered an attack on all, a "sacred obligation." 

Trump has called NATO "obsolete" and raised doubts about whether he would respect Article 5, stirring deep unease in Europe. 

"Defending the liberal international order requires that we resist the forces of European disintegration and maintain our longstanding insistence on a Europe, whole, free and peaceful," said Biden. 

"It means fighting for the European Union, one of the most vibrant and consequential institutions on earth," he added. 

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, in his last major speech before leaving office, described Russia on Wednesday as the biggest threat to the international liberal order and said Washington must work with Europe to stand up to Vladimir Putin. 

The CIA concluded last December that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help president-elect Donald Trump win the White House. Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Washington Post said intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks.

U.S. intelligence agencies also found that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee's computer systems as well, but did not release the information. This contributed to the conclusion that Russia meant to promote Trump over Clinton, The New York Times Reported, citing a senior government official.