Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: NY Times story sparks new firestorm over Kavanaugh Top Sanders adviser: 'He is a little bit angry' Working Families Party endorses Warren after backing Sanders in 2016 MORE on Tuesday offered a detailed explanation of how the Obama administration handled evidence of Russian interference leading up to the 2016 presidential election, arguing it was a tricky situation and it's easier to say in hindsight that more could have been said.

“The bottom line was it was tricky as hell. It’s easy now to say, ‘Well, maybe we should’ve said more,’” Biden said during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Initial intelligence community reports showed that Russia was attempting to delegitimize the United States’ electoral process, Biden said. Then-CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanTrump lashes out at former intel officials for criticism of Iran tweet Trailer shows first look at Annette Bening as Dianne Feinstein Webb: Questions for Robert Mueller MORE suggested issuing a bipartisan warning to Russia in response, Biden said.


“We went up and [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: NY Times story sparks new firestorm over Kavanaugh Senator asked FBI to follow up on new information about Kavanaugh last year Congress must reinstate assault weapons ban MORE — who I get on with well, smart guy — wanted no part of having a bipartisan commitment that we would say essentially, ‘Russia is doing this, stop.’ So it couldn’t be used as a weapon against a Democratic nominee of a president trying to use the intelligence committee,” Biden said.

Previous reports have stated that McConnell opposed releasing the intelligence and would have viewed the release by the White House as a partisan attack.

The intelligence community concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in an attempt to help President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE win the White House. Multiple congressional committees are currently conducting investigations to determine the scope and effects of Russian meddling.

The Obama administration faced criticism for not taking a stronger stance or notifying the public of Russian interference prior to the election. 

“There was this constant tight rope was being walked here as to what would we do,” Biden said Tuesday.

In the weeks leading up to the election, Biden said, then-President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBooker dismisses early surveys: 'If you're polling ahead right now, you should worry' Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy Mattis dodges toughest question MORE faced a difficult choice about whether to speak out. If Obama publicly declared Russia was attempting to influence the election, Biden worried he’d be accused of “unilaterally” trying to tip the vote in Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump's economic approval takes hit in battleground states: poll This is how Democrats will ensure Trump's re-election The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE’s favor.

“Can you imagine if the president of the United States called a press conference in October with this fella, and [Stephen] Bannon and company, and said ‘tell you what, the Russians are trying to interfere in our elections and we have to do something about it,’” Biden said. 

“What do you think would have happened?” Biden continued. “Would things have gotten better, or would it further look like we were attempting to delegitimize the electoral process because of our opponent.”

Biden is considered a potential Democratic nominee for president in 2020. He has indicated he may launch a campaign, but has not definitively said if he’ll run.