Joe Biden calls Putin, asks about key policy issues

Story by Tim Fitzmaurice and Leigh Ann Caldwell, CNN • Updated 11th March 2018

This story was originally published on CNN.

“Good morning. You look great. Hope you got good sleep last night.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden spent more than half a year telling American voters and senators what he looks like these days. Now he has let us in on what he really looks like — and all I can say is, there’s a new favorite selfie star.

“I mean, we don’t need to see it, but what a great guy.”

Biden re-lived the moment with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As CNN’s Jim Acosta tweeted, “After 2 months of clearing his calendar, Biden gets FaceTimed with Putin on Wednesday.”

Here are five takeaways from the call:

Biden says he believes “we’re on the right track” with Russia

As we reported, Biden’s new book “Promise Me, Dad” lays out his belief that we’ve made some real progress in Russian relations.

He’s even hopeful that an apparent breakthrough between the two countries over Syrian de-escalation zones will prove to be more than just a one-off deal.

While the phone call with Putin offered plenty of suspense, Biden told Putin he would leave his policy to President Trump. It’s certainly the most expansive official comment about the U.S.-Russia relationship since Trump began taking office.

Read more from CNN.

Biden wants Trump to communicate more with Putin

It wasn’t surprising to hear Biden make a reference to the worst moments in Russian-U.S. relations. Here’s what he had to say on those occasions:

“I said, ‘Vladimir, if there’s an effort to break down an effort to get tougher and stronger sanctions, I’ve got to be smart and I’ve got to be straight.’ Because the one thing I’ve learned about Putin’s regime, if he’s been open to dialogue and negotiation, there’s no deal we can’t get done.

“And I said, ‘If there is an effort to cut off or degrade communications — the only communication we have at this point — what are we left with? Nothing.’

“Now, with the policy [in place], Putin, at least in some instances, now, if you talk to some of the guys from Congress, they say he’s going to turn it on. The Trump administration will drop Crimea into Ukraine, they’ll pivot toward Asia, they’ll do whatever they can to get the Taiwan issue settled. And, look, Putin understands that well.

“So what the hell do you do? When you’re in the throes of confrontation, what do you do? What’s the president of the United States done? He has taken a Twitter address. He has not talked with Putin. No one knows what they talked about. There’s a chance to do some things that might at least induce a little bit of goodwill and, you know, at least convey an interest in talking.”

Biden warns the American public to be careful about what they’ve seen on Twitter

Biden may not have publicly commented on Trump’s recent social media strategy, but you can hear how he feels about it. As he told CNN’s Cecilia Vega, “Let’s be clear. It’s Twitter. It’s 140 characters.”

Biden doesn’t like it when the President calls him by his first name, and he was quick to state his frustrations with Trump after the President called him “Del” for example.

When pressed by Vega, Biden did say that he would support Trump making calls to Russian leaders.

Watch video of the call below.

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