Russia's President Vladimir Putin had only one goal in meeting with President Joe Biden, according to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Newsmax, and that was finding out what he could get away with.
"There's no doubt that Putin believes, based on his previous interaction with Biden and watching American politics, that Biden is someone he wants to test," Rubio told Wednesday's "Stinchfield," noting the former KGB agent is a "psychological operative" and "trained intelligence officer."
Rubio told host Grant Stinchfield, that Putin was thinking, "I'm going to test this guy. How far can I go? What can I do? What is this guy's pain tolerance?"
"I am certain he went in looking for an assessment, a personal assessment, what was Biden willing to put up with," Rubio added.
The true deal-making will be made after Putin knows this information, Rubio said, noting Putin "views this as a zero sum game," where his world authority is more measured by "his ability to embarrass and frustrate the United States" than actually making diplomatic progress.
"He doesn't care what the world thinks about Vladimir Putin," Rubio continued. "He's not trying to be popular in the world. Vladimir Putin wants to restore Russia to great power standing. He can't do that economically, so he has to do that militarily and asymmetrically by being able to wield power."
Putin uses the mantra that he has "restored Russia to greatness," Rubio noted.
"That's an argument Putin relies on for political currency inside the country," Rubio said. "He doesn't care what they think about him in Paris, or in London, or in Washington, or in L.A."
President Biden's decision to avoid a face-to-face press conference was ultimately a "wise" one, Rubio estimated.
"Given what we've seen recently from this president, it's probably a wise choice to no put him in that situation one on one," Rubio said. "Look, I'm not a fan of Vladimir Putin, but I think he felt in a setting like he could have an advantage and really press the case.
"We'll never really know what came up in that conversation."
Rubio was critical of Biden saying in his solo press conference he made a list of 16 "critical infrastructure" industries that Russia should not attack with cyber warfare.
"That was an unforced error," Rubio said. "I hope he didn't really give him that list. I think, if I'm Putin, I'm going to wave that list around and say, 'hey, it's not on your list.'"
Cybercriminals are just not going to be rooted out of Russia by Vladimir Putin, especially if they are dogging his rivals.
"If Putin wants them, he can find them," Rubio said. "He can find anyone he wants in Russia and he can shut them down. He doesn't want to shut them down.
"Sometimes, maybe he's hired them to do work on behalf of Russia, because it provides him deniability: 'Well, it's not us; we're not the ones doing it. We'll see what we can do.'"
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