House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday requested US intelligence leaders to brief House regarding reports that Russia placed bounties on American troops in Afghanistan.
“The questions that arise are: was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel.
“Congress and the country need answers now,” she said.
The speaker accused President Donald Trump’s administration of endangering American troops in the region with lack of action.
“The Administration’s disturbing silence and inaction endanger the lives of our troops and our coalition partners,” she wrote. “The President’s refusal to stand up to the Russians also jeopardizes lives in the region, as the Afghan government and the United States are engaged in critical peace negotiations with the Taliban.”
In a pair of tweets, Trump said Sunday neither Vice President Mike Pence nor Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, have been told “about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News @nytimes.”
His denial came two days after The New York Times reported that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces, including American troops in Afghanistan.
The Times said Trump and the White House National Security Council gathered in late March to discuss the matter and weighed several responses, including a diplomatic complaint to Moscow demanding an end to the practice and escalating a series of sanctions.
“Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us,” Trump tweeted, referring to remarks of Taliban and Russian mission in the US that said they had nothing to do with the explosive allegations.
In a separate tweet, he said that intelligence reported him that “they did not find this info credible,” and therefore they did not inform him or the vice president on the matter.
“Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!” he added.
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