Tara Reade, the ex-Senate aide who made international headlines by accusing President Joe Biden of sexual assault during his victorious 2020 presidential campaign, has announced that she is seeking Russian citizenship.
In a discussion with Russian state-run outlet Sputnik, the 59-year-old American stated that she felt safe and right at home in Moscow, and would likely primarily reside there due to feeling "surrounded by protection and safety”. Reade conducted the interview while sitting next to the notorious Maria Butina, a Russian woman who was convicted in the US for being a Kremlin agent back in 2019. She now serves as a member of the Russian parliament.
Reade first came to prominence in 2020, when she publicly accused Biden of inappropriately touching her during her time as a staff assistant in his Senate office in 1993. At the time, Biden seemed likely to secure the Democratic nomination for president and quickly denied the accusations.
Since then, several other women have accused Biden of similar behaviour. However, no record of Reade's complaint has been found, and it remains unclear whether her claim was formally investigated. Numerous US-based outlets such as CNN, Politico, PBS and New York Times, attempted to verify the story by speaking to friends and former colleagues of Reade, but nothing was found.
As her credibility came under attack, Reade was dropped as a client by her lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, in May 2020. Wigdor has previously represented women that have accused other high-profile men of sexual assault, such as Harvey Weinstein. Wigdor’s decision to stop representing Reade followed revelations that she had been untruthful about obtaining a bachelor's degree from Antioch University.
In the years following her accusation, Reade became a columnist at Russian state media outlet RT and started a podcast called “The Politics of Survival with Tara Reade.”
In her interview with Sputnik, Reade stated that her safety was at threat in the US ahead of the upcoming US presidential race.
"I just didn't want to walk home and walk into a cage or be killed, which is basically my two choices,” she said. “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.”
"I'd like to apply for citizenship in Russia, from the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.”
In the days since Reade’s public announcement, she has wasted no time integrating herself into Moscow’s ex-pat community, having been spotted in one of the capital’s most notorious ex-pat pubs. Posting on Twitter, RT correspondent Chay Bowes posted a photo with Reade, declaring that it is “always nice to meet up with old friends.” Bowes ran the Irish political news website The Ditch, which has come under accusations by Irish Tánaiste Micheál Martin of being associated with Moscow.
Bne IntelliNews spoke to two American ex-pats who allegedly saw Reade in the same establishment that night, both of which recognised Reade from the news.
“She seemed happy to be in Moscow” one of the expats, a man in his 40s, explained. “I didn’t speak to her, but heard her laughing and joking with a large group of Irish and British guys at the bar.”
The other ex-pat, who declined to be identified, noted that Reade seemed “overwhelmed.”