Nets HAMMER Biden on Failure of Russian Sanctions to Prevent War

The three night newscasts attacked Biden’s administration almost 24 hours following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They demanded that they double down on sanctions, which had already failed to deter Russian aggression. 

CBS Evening News, senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang reported how, during a Thursday afternoon press conference, President Biden “New sanctions were announced to cripple the Russian economy.”With targets to be at “Great Russian Banks” and “oligarchs friendly with Putin.” Jiang noted how “for weeks the administration has insisted sanctions would curb Putin’s aggression.” 

Jiang then aired a soundbite of White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan from a February 11 press conference insisting that “the President believes sanctions are intended to deter” Russian aggression. In an apparent attempt to call out the Biden administration’s inconsistent messaging Jiang pointed out how “Mr. Biden said the opposite as he struggled to answer how to stop Putin from overtaking Ukraine.”

BIDEN: No one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening. It has – this could take time.

Jiang ended her report by noting that Biden “said today that sanctioning Vladimir Putin himself is an option that is on the table,” yet when asked at a press conference on Thursday “he declined to answer why it hasn’t already happened.”  



Over on ABC’s World News Tonight, anchor David Muir while talking to White House correspondent Cecilia Vega, asked her about her exchange with Biden over Russian sanctions. 

“Cecilia, you pressed President Biden at the White House today, are these series of sanctions, several of them now, are they working,” Muir noted, before airing Vega’s question to Biden as well as his answer: 

CECILIA VEGA: Sir, sanctions clearly have not been enough to deter Vladimir Putin to this point. What is going to stop him? HowAnd when does this end? And do you see him trying to go beyond Ukraine? 

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Nobody expected that the sanctions would prevent any event from occurring. It has – this could take time. And we have to show resolve so he knows what’s coming and so the people of Russia know what he’s brought on them. That’s what this is all about. This is gonna take time. It’s not going to occur — he’s gonna say, oh, my God, these sanctions are coming, I’m gonna stand down, he’s gonna test the resolve of the west to see if we stay together, and we will. We will and it will pose significant costs on him.

When Muir turned to Vega after airing the video from earlier in the day, Vega reacted to Biden’s answer to her: 

The President is really saying two competing things here. You heard him just say, if Putin isn’t stopped, he could be emboldened enough to try to go beyond Ukraine. On the other hand, he’s also saying these sanctions that were issued today, severe though they are, aren’t enough to stop Putin overnight.

Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News​​​​​​, which was no less tough on Biden, chief White House correspondent Peter Alexander reported how Biden promised to make Putin “an international pariah” yet at the same time failed to announce a ban on Russia from participating in S.W.I.F.T which is the secure banking system that connects over 200 countries. Alexander noted that this proposal is what both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and bipartisan lawmakers in Congress are requesting Biden to do.

Alexander then aired a brutal exchange in which he asked Biden when it comes to banning Russia from S.W.I.F.T “respectfully, sir, what more are you waiting for?” 

To read the relevant transcript of each segment click “expand” 

CBS Evening News
6:38:33 p.m. Eastern 

NORAH O’DONNELL: Well, in his first remarks since Russia’s full-scale invasion, President Biden said he has no plans to speak with Vladimir Putin, and that relations between the two countries are “completely ruptured.” And in an alarming comment, President Biden today said Putin has larger ambitions than just Ukraine, that he wants to reestablish the former Soviet Union. CBS’ Weijia Jiang reports tonight from the White House on new crippling sanctions.

WEIJIA JIANG: President Biden condemned what he called Vladimir Putin’s premeditated, unprovoked attack.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences.

JIANG: The President announced new sanctions aimed at crippling the Russian economy, targeting four large Russian banks, several more oligarchs friendly with Putin, and new restrictions on key, high-tech exports to Russia. For weeks the administration has insisted sanctions would curb Putin’s aggression.

WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER JAKE SULLIVAN (February 11): The President believes sanctions are intended to deter.

JIANG: But today, Mr. Biden said the opposite as he struggled to answer how to stop Putin from overtaking Ukraine.

BIDEN: No one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening. It has – this could take time.


JIANG: President Biden also said today that sanctioning Vladimir Putin himself is an option that is on the table. But he declined to answer why it hasn’t already happened. The President plans to attend an emergency NATO summit tomorrow morning. The thirty-nation alliance will map out next steps to deal with this crisis. Norah.

ABC’s World News Tonight
6:45:15 p.m. Eastern 

DAVID MUIR: Let’s bring in our chief White House correspondent Cecilia Vega tonight. And Cecilia, you pressed President Biden at the White House today, are these series of sanctions, several of them now, are they working? Let’s watch.

CECILIA VEGA – Sir, it is obvious that the sanctions are not enough to stop Vladimir Putin. How can he be stopped? When and how will this all end? Do you think he is trying to leave Ukraine?

JOE BODEN, THE PRESIDENT: It was not expected that sanctions could prevent something from ever happening. It has – this could take time. It is important to demonstrate resolve, so he can see what’s ahead and that the Russian people understand what he brought. This is the essence of this whole thing. It’s going to take some time. This is not happening. He’ll say “Oh, my God! These sanctions are coming,” and he’ll beg for mercy. He will pay significant consequences for it. 

MUIR: Cecilia, we heard the President there say it will take time to see if these sanctions have the intended effect, but of course, the world is watching as this Russian invasion unfolds right now.

VEGA: And lives David, are on the line, as we speak. Two competing statements are being made by the President. As he said just now, Putin could feel empowered enough to attempt to leave Ukraine if he isn’t stopped. However, he also stated that these sanctions, as severe as they may be, won’t stop Putin overnight. Officials here tell me that they are aware of the fact that there is nothing they can do to stop Putin from doing what he does. They say that Moscow will be increasingly isolated from the rest the world over the coming month. David, while the White House claims these are some of the most important and powerful sanctions ever imposed, you can also hear the President saying today that they will check with us in a month to make sure these sanctions work.

NBC Nightly News
Eastern: 7:07 p.m.

PETER ALEXANDER: The President imposing harsh new sanctions, cutting off Russia’s largest banks and companies from western financial markets. Limiting technology exports. Also, freezing billions of dollars worth of assets including those owned by Putin’s elites and their families. 

JOE BIDEN, THE PRESIDENT, SAYS: Russia won’t be able to trade in dollars, euros or pounds.

ALEXANDER: The President promising to make Putin an international pariah, but tonight not announcing what Ukraine’s President and bipartisan lawmakers have said would be the strongest financial punishment available to allies. Russia must be exempted from the S.W.I.F.T. secure network that links banks across more than 200 nations.


BIDEN: We imposed sanctions that exceed S.W.I.F.T. We imposed sanctions that are more severe than any other. These are very serious sanctions. Let’s meet again in one month and see how they work. 

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