White House chief of staff Ron Klein refused to say Tuesday whether US President Joe Biden would announce any “concrete military steps” against Russia in tonight’s State of the Union address, telling CNN correspondent Wolf Pletzer in an interview that Biden will highlight the “What it brought together, an unprecedented alliance — NATO plus our partners in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Japan — to do two things: provide all kinds of assistance … and also with unprecedented sanctions against a country as big as Russia.”
“So what you hear the president talking about tonight is this coalition he helped put together, he spearheaded the assembly process,” Klein told Wolff, “along with the next steps that further tighten sanctions on the oligarchs who are resisting Putin, who are profiting from the regime of Putin, as well as the next steps in the delivery of humanitarian and military aid to the Ukrainians.
Klein also refused to consider Putin’s mental state, only telling CNN that Putin “has done something now that he hasn’t done to such an extent before, which is to launch a completely unjustified and unjustified invasion of a country as large and important as Ukraine.”
Earlier Tuesday, CNN reported that the US intelligence community has made assessing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state of mind a top priority in recent days as it seeks to determine how this affects his handling of the rapidly escalating Ukraine crisis, according to two sources familiar with the effort.
Noting the sanctions already in place in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Klein noted that the measures had already won Biden’s praise from allies and political opponents alike,
“It’s hard to impose sanctions like that on a country as big as Russia, and it’s hard to get everyone together to do that, and I think that’s why you’re seeing both Democrats and Republicans, including people who weren’t fans of Joe. That’s what Biden said previously. The effort and this global effort to punish Putin and his regime is stronger and stronger than they ever expected.”
Watch our live coverage of Biden’s State of the Union address here.
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