Contradicting WH, Intel Officials Say Trump Was Briefed On Russia’s Bounties
President Trump denied he was briefed that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill American troops in Afghanistan, but intelligence officials told The Associated Press that Trump was briefed on the matter earlier this year.
- The briefing came as the president pushed to remove troops from Afghanistan and “suggested Russia was making overtures to militants as the U.S. and the Taliban held talks to end the long-running war.”
- A number of attacks on US soldiers have recently occurred in Afghanistan. The intelligence community has been investigating the killing of three US Marines in April 2019.
- The SEAL Team Six raided a Taliban outpost earlier this year, recovering $500,000 and solidifying fears that Russia was offering money to Taliban militants.
- One official told the AP that “the administration discussed several potential responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step.”
- Trump tweeted on Sunday that neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence were briefed on the situation, adding that he was told intelligence officials did not find the information credible.
- Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) tweeted on Saturday, “Imperative Congress get to the bottom of recent media reports that Russian GRU units in Afghanistan have offered to pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers with the goal of pushing America out of the region.” GRU is a reference to Russian intelligence agencies.
- The Russian Foreign Ministry called the allegations “nonsense” and said, “This unsophisticated plant clearly illustrates the low intellectual abilities of the propagandists of American intelligence, who instead of inventing something more plausible have to make up this nonsense.”
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claimed she was not made aware of the briefing but the AP reported that “the Trump administration was set to brief select members of Congress on the matter Monday.”
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has repeatedly criticized the president’s foreign policy strategies.