A former Senate aide who in 2020 accused President Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her has relocated to Russia ahead of the upcoming election and is asking Russian President Vladimir Putin for citizenship, CBS News reports.
Tara Reade, who worked in then-Sen. Biden's office in 1993, told Russian press organization Sputnik that when visiting Russia for a vacation, she decided to stay after a Republican legislator warned her of potential danger.
"I'm still kind of in a daze a bit but I feel very good," she said of the move while sitting beside Maria Butina, a Russian agent convicted and jailed in the US who's now a member of Russia's Parliament. "I feel very surrounded by protection and safety.
"I just really so appreciate Maria and everyone who's been giving me [protection] at a time when it's been very difficult to know if I'm safe or not," she continued. "I just didn't want to walk home and walk into a cage or be killed, which is basically my two choices."
Reade first garnered media attention during the 2020 presidential election when she claimed Biden sexually assaulted her in August 1993 in a Capitol Hill corridor. The 59-year-old said she had filed a complaint after the alleged incident, but there are no records of it, nor is it clear if her claims have been investigated. A 1996 court document, however, cites her ex-husband as having mentioned her complaints of sexual harassment in the then-senator's office.
Biden has repeatedly denied the allegations.
"It is not true. I'm saying unequivocally it never, never happened," he said in a 2020 "Morning Joe" interview.
Reade, a self-proclaimed geopolitical analyst, also told Sputnik that she faced threats against her life after going public with the accusations in 2020. As campaigns for the 2024 election begin, according to The Guardian, she has recently considered testifying against Biden before the House Republican committees.
The decision to relocate to Russia "was very difficult," she said. "I'm not an impulsive person. I really take my time and sort of analyze data points.
"And from what I could see based on the cases and based on what was happening and sort of the push for them to not want me to testify, I felt that while this election is gearing up and there's so much at stake, I'm almost better off here and just being safe," she continued.
During the Russian press appearance, Reade, according to CBS News, said she has "always loved Russia" and alongside many other Americans does not see the country "as an enemy."
"To my Russian brothers and sisters, I'm sorry right now that American elites are choosing to have such an aggressive stance," The Guardian quotes her as saying. "Just know that most American citizens do want to be friends and hope that we can have unity again."
As reported by CBS News, Reade also made a request of Putin: Though she would like to keep her U.S. citizenship, she would "like to apply for citizenship in Russia, from the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin... I do promise to be a good citizen."