News and Analysis

‘How Do You Explain To People?’: AP Reporter Corners State Department Spox On Biden’s Failure To Halt Nord Stream 2 Earlier
US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, on February 23, 2022. - President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the US will join Germany in imposing sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project in retaliation for Moscow's mounting military pressure against Ukraine. By acting together with the Germans how we did, when we did, and the way in which we did, we have ensured that this is an $11 billion prize investment that is now a hunk of steel, sitting at the bottom of the sea," Price said. (Photo by TOM BRENNER / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOM BRENNER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Associated Press diplomatic reporter Matt Lee challenged State Department spokesman Ned Price directly during a Wednesday press briefing, asking why President Joe Biden held off so long on reinstating sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

“On Nord Stream 2, you guys have been saying for months, indeed, for over since the waivers were first granted, that in fact this gave you additional leverage, withholding the sanctions did, and would serve as a deterrent,” Lee began, adding, “Clearly, it didn’t — it didn’t provide you with any leverage at all that we can tell, because of what you just said in your opening statement about the invasion beginning. So how do you explain to people why you didn’t impose these sanctions earlier?”

Price responded by detailing the coordination between the United States and Germany, saying, “Let’s just rewind the tape and remember what has happened in recent hours.”

He noted that Germany had taken steps almost immediately after Russia began to invade Ukraine — under the guise of providing a “peacekeeping” force to assist the two Russia-backed regions that had declared their independence from Ukraine — and promised to withhold certification of the pipeline. He then pointed out that the United States had quickly followed that with sanctions on the Russian company that controlled the pipeline’s construction.

He went on to claim that the really important takeaway from the ongoing situation was that the United States and Germany were “acting in unison” against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression, in removing Nord Stream 2 from the discussion, and planned to continue that cooperation moving forward.

Price did not address Lee’s question regarding why Biden’s administration had not implemented sanctions earlier — especially when Putin’s movements were clearly indicating that holding sanctions up as a threat was not effective in preventing him from taking further actions.

And Lee is not the only one who has asked that question.

CNN anchor Dana Bash pressed Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the very same issue weeks ago, as The Daily Wire reported:

CNN anchor Dana Bash questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a Sunday morning interview, asking why President Joe Biden seemed content to allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to make the first move with regard to Ukraine.

Bash hosted Blinken on Sunday’s broadcast of “State of the Union,” and she pressed him on the fact that the Biden administration had thus far opted not to impose economic sanctions on Russia despite Putin’s continued posturing and a number of indicators that suggested he might be preparing to invade Ukraine.

“Ukrainian President Zelensky is calling for the U.S. and others, Europeans, to put sanctions in place now, to do it proactively, not reactively. He said, quote, ‘Today our partners are saying that war may start tomorrow if there was a powerful escalation on the Russian side and then there will be powerful sanctions applied.’ The question is why are you not introducing sanctions now rather than waiting until after the escalation. What’s your answer to that?” Bash asked.

Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich posed a similar question to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, asking whether the Biden Administration was “waiting for people to die” before going ahead with sanctions against Russia.

Related: After Waiving Sanctions Nine Months Ago, Biden Sanctions Russian-Owned Company Behind Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

The Daily Wire’s first original film, Shut In, has made its cinematic debut, being met with rave reviews. The Daily Wire is building an alternative to the leftist entertainment industry, one gripping movie at a time. Join us in this mission and stream Shut In today by becoming a Daily Wire member.
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘How Do You Explain To People?’: AP Reporter Corners State Department Spox On Biden’s Failure To Halt Nord Stream 2 Earlier