GOP lawmakers urge action after briefing on Russian-bounty allegations

Elias Hubbard
June 30, 2020

Still, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted Trump had not been briefed on the findings because they hadn't been verified. "I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately", Pelosi wrote in a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel.

The intelligence was issued to the White House before Trump called for Russian Federation to be reinstated to the G8.

The New York Times reported Friday that American intelligence had determined a Russian intelligence unit had secretly offered Taliban-linked militants bounties to kill American and coalition service members in Afghanistan.

Anonymous US officials revealed that the White House was made aware of the bounties to the Associated Press.

However- President Trump denied that he was informed of the information about Russian Federation secretly paying the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers.

Officials said they did not consider the intelligence assessments in 2019 to be particularly urgent, given that Russian meddling in Afghanistan is not a new occurrence.

Rep. Jim Banks of IN tweeted he attended the meeting, stating the truth about the intelligence may now never be known because "The New York Times used unconfirmed intel IN an ONGOING investigation into targeted killing of American soldiers IN order to smear the president".

McEnany also said the Intelligence Agency is briefing the top eight leaders of Congress Monday, following an unconfirmed report by the New York Times that suggested the president knew about the bounties and failed to address Congress.

A damning article by veteran reporter Carl Bernstein quotes sources describing Trump as "delusional" and jeopardising America's national security and place on the global stage by surrendering political advantage to Putin, who is likened to "a chess grandmaster" making short work of "an occasional player of checkers".

Republican Sen. John Cornyn told reporters Monday, "I don't think it's should be a surprise to anybody that the Taliban's been trying to kill Americans and that the Russians have been encouraging that, if not providing means to make that happen".

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the entire body to be briefed on the incident. On Sunday, the paper published an additional report that held that United States intelligence and Special Operations forces had alerted superiors in January about the bounties.

Late Monday, a White House official said Trump has been briefed on the intelligence behind reports of Russian bounties on US troops in Afghanistan and said the briefing took place "after the NY Times reported on unverified intelligence".

However, the classified assessment of Russian bounties was the sole goal of the meeting.

Democrats were not included in the initial meeting, and they have been scheduled to take part in a briefing with White House officials on Tuesday.

A senior USA official told Fox News that the National Security Council recently met to come up with a "menu of responses" to Russian action in Afghanistan.

Trump's Democratic general election rival, former Vice-President Joe Biden, used an online fundraiser Monday to hammer the president for a "betrayal" of American troops in favour of "an embarrassing campaign of deferring and debasing himself before Putin". But former intelligence officials told U.S. media that, in previous administrations, claims of such importance would be reported to the president, even if the evidence had not been fully established.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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