Top Biden Advisor Ronald Klain Slams Trump's 'Crackpot Scheme' With Putin

Ron Klain, Joe Biden's top political advisor, has criticized Donald Trump's "crackpot scheme" with Russia's Vladimir Putin, after the former U.S. president appealed to the Kremlin strongman again to try and get dirt on Hunter Biden.

On Tuesday night, on Real America's Voice show Just the News, Trump asked Putin for a favor.

"Why did the mayor of Moscow's wife give the Bidens—both of them—three and half million dollars? That's a lot of money," Trump said.

"She gave him three and half million dollars. So now I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it. I think we should know that answer."

Trump's followers and other Senate Republicans have claimed that an investment firm in co-founded by Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, whose late husband Yury Luzhkov was Moscow's former mayor. Hunter Biden denies the allegation.

The White House Chief of Staff responded to Trump's remarks in an interview on MSNBC with anchor Nicolle Wallace on Thursday.

Klain said: "It's obviously disgusting Nicolle, I mean we have Vladimir Putin and every day we wake up and see dropping bombs on hospitals, on schools, on children, and we have the former president, who thinks that's a great person to try to engage in a political scheme with. It's absolutely disgusting."

Klain said that the Biden administration was "grateful" for having most Republicans on Capitol Hill working closely to confront Putin.

"We've had strong bipartisan support for aid, to provide economic aid, lethal aid, military assistance to the Ukrainians fighting President Putin but if Donald Trump thinks some kind of crackpot scheme conducted in conjunction with Vladimir Putin will serve his political interest. That will fail as it has failed every time and it says a lot about who Donald Trump is and how much he cares about our country's security," Klain said.

Newsweek has contacted Trump's team for comment.

It is not the first White House rebuke of Trump's recent comments about Putin. Kate Bedingfield, a White House spokesperson, sharply criticized Trump on Wednesday.

"What kind of American, let alone an ex-president, thinks that this is the right time to enter into a scheme with Vladimir Putin and brag about his connections to Vladimir Putin?" Bedingfield told reporters. "There is only one, and it's Donald Trump."

Several other lawmakers have condemned Trump's comments. Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger on Thursday called on Trump to be disqualified from the 2024 national election for asking Putin, who Biden and other top U.S. officials have called "a war criminal", for help.

This is not the first time Trump has appealed to Russia to be able to attack his political opponents.

Trump called Putin "a genius" in an interview on The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show on February 22. On Thursday, the Republican denied calling Putin a "genius."

Trump later doubled down on his comments, telling a crowd at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that the Russian president Putin was "pretty smart" as he had "taken over a country for $2 worth of sanctions."

During Trump's 2016 presidential campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump suggested publicly that Russian hackers could help find Clinton emails.

In the MSNBC interview, Wallace also said that conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson provided a "safe harbor" for Putin in the U.S. media. Tucker has questioned why the U.S. should be on Kyiv's side.

Ron Klain
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain testifies before the Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery Subcommittee hearing on "Community Perspectives on Coronavirus Preparedness and Response" on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on March 10, 2020. Klain criticized former U.S. president Donald Trump on Thursday for asking Russian President Vladimir Putin for a favor. Nicholas Kamm/Getty