Leaders of both parties pressed on Sunday for answers from the White House about reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin had put bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and that the U.S. had taken no action in response. Democrats called for hearings to be held.
In his first comment on the matter, President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that “nobody briefed or told me” about the “so-called attacks,” a comment that his former national security adviser termed “remarkable.”
The New York Times reported Friday on the alleged actions by Russian military intelligence — paying Taliban-linked militias to kill American and British troops — and that Trump and other top White House officials had been briefed on the matter months ago. Major elements were also reported by the Washington Post.
In a follow-up story Sunday, the Times wrote that commandos and spies on the ground in Afghanistan had reported their findings to superiors in January and that they had first grown suspicious after discovering a large stash of U.S. dollars at a Taliban outpost. The U.S. military was reviewing attacks on Americans for possible links to the alleged Russian incentive plan, the Times said, while the Washington Post said the bounties likely resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members.
Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an “anonymous source” by the Fake News @nytimes. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2020
Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking Republican in the House, on Sunday appeared to accept Trump’s comment as true. In a tweet she called for an explanation of “who did know and when,” and asked if the topic had been raised in the PDB, or the president’s daily brief. Representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas retweeted Cheney, adding, “we need answers.”
A key Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, said on Saturday it was “imperative Congress get to the bottom of” the allegations about Russia.
“I expect the Trump administration to take such allegations seriously and inform Congress immediately as to the reliability of these news reports,” the South Carolina Republican said on Twitter. Graham golfed with Trump on Sunday in Virginia.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she wasn’t aware of the intelligence about the Russian bounty on U.S. forces in Afghanistan, but “we have called for a report to the Congress on this.”
If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is true, the White House must explain:
1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the PDB?
2. Who did know and when?
3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) June 28, 2020
“This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies …read more
Source:: Time – Politics