ABC's Rick Klein discusses President Biden’s ‘genocide’ comment, inflation

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Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 12:47 PM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV/KTRE) - ABC News Political Director Rick Klein spoke about a variety of topics during his East Texas Now interview Wednesday morning.

Klein’s conversation with East Texas Now host Devyn Shea ranged from President Joe Biden calling Russia’s actions in Ukraine “genocide” to the highest inflation rate in 40 years. He also touched on the threat of Russia using chemical weapons.

Biden called Russia’s action in Ukraine genocide during a recent speech in Iowa. Shea asked Klein to comment on the term the president used.

“It’s the first time President Biden has used that word to label what’s going on in Ukraine,” Klein said. “The Ukrainians, of course, are cheering that because they say that is exactly what is going on. Putin’s trying to wipe out the idea of being Ukrainian.”

Biden did clarify that he didn’t mean genocide in a legal sense, Klein said. He added the word has a particular legal meaning when it comes to the responsibilities of the international community and the potential legal culpability of people around Russian leader Vladimir Putin. If the legal definition is met, it triggers certain responses, including possible military action, ABC’s political director said.

“Biden was basically calling it what it is, but he said he’s going to leave it to the lawyers to determine if it meets the legal definition,” Klein said. “It’s probably an important hair to be split here. What Biden has also said is that there is not going to be a military conflict with Russia.”

Klein explained that lawyers determine that genocide is taking place in Ukraine, it might change the United States’ stance, “at least on paper.”

Shea also asked Klein to comment on the fact that inflation here in the US is at its highest point in more than 40 years and that Biden blamed the price hike on Putin during his speech in Iowa.

‘There’s no question that the invasion of Ukraine has rattled markets,” Klein said. “It’s also tightened supplies of oil and gasoline. It means that, yes, gas prices are higher, and inflation has seen a bit of an uptick because of disruptions to the global markets and the supply chain.”

Klein said Biden’s statement ignores the fact that inflation had been going on a year or so at a steady clip before Russia invaded Ukraine. He added that a great deal of the latest economic numbers doesn’t have anything to do with what has happened in the past month or so.

“I think it’s a political shield that the administration is using to try to blame it on Vladimir Putin,” Klein said.

To watch the full interview, click the video above.

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