United States congress leaders: did Trump know about Russian Federation and the Taliban

Cheryl Sanders
June 30, 2020

Donald Trump's director of national intelligence vowed to investigate allegations that Russian operatives in Afghanistan offered bounties for the killing of American soldiers and brief lawmakers and the president about his conclusions.

Trump has denied knowing anything about the Russian bounties detailed in The New York Times report published online Friday.

The White House also said that Trump was not yet briefed on the intelligence, as it had not been fully verified.

"When developing intelligence assessments, initial tactical reports often require additional collection and validation".

An account of the Russian bounties was included in the President's Daily Brief, a written intelligence report, in late February, the New York Times reported on Monday night, citing two officials it didn't identify.

Republicans who were in the briefing Monday expressed alarm about Russia's activities in Afghanistan. McCaul and Kinzinger said in a statement that lawmakers were told "there is an ongoing review to determine the accuracy of these reports".

Trump sought to cast doubt on the Russian bounty effort, saying on Sunday he was never briefed on the matter and USA intelligence officials told him this was because the information was not credible.

Senators reviewed classified documents related to the allegations Monday evening.

The president tweeted Sunday that he followed up with intelligence officials and learned that the information they received was not credible.

"Congress and the country need answers now", Pelosi said, adding that the briefing should also focus on "what options are available to hold Russian Federation accountable". She said that "this is as serious as it gets".

Separately, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday that all members of the Senate should be briefed by intelligence officials on the issue. "And would he tell Putin what they knew?"

The U.S. intelligence was gathered from interrogations of captured militants in recent months, according to the reports. They suggested Russian Federation was making overtures to militants as the USA and the Taliban held talks to end the long-running war.

The New York Times reported Friday night that US intelligence officials concluded months ago that Russian Federation covertly offered the rewards to Taliban-linked militants.

"He either didn't know that Russian Federation was offering bounties for killing American troops or didn't care enough to remember a briefing that told him. So, this is, this is a more leaks and partisanship".

The intelligence community has been investigating an April 2019 attack on an American convoy that killed three U.S. Marines after a auto rigged with explosives detonated near their armoured vehicles as they travelled back to Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan, officials told the AP.

"Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us".

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The investigations are focused in particular on an April 2019 attack on a US convoy in which three Marines were killed as they returned to Bagram Airfield, the largest USA military installation in Afghanistan.

The White House did not respond to questions about Trump or other officials' awareness of Russia's provocations in 2019.

Intelligence officials told the AP that the White House first became aware of alleged Russian bounties in early 2019 - a year earlier than had been previously reported.

Several Democrats in the House of Representatives are to be briefed on the matter early on June 30. However, it is rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to top officials.

Katko, a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Congress should invite intelligence officials to testify and determine if Trump had been informed about the bounties, as The New York Times reported.

Trump's perceived refusal to act on the threats has been criticised by observers, including presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who said during a Saturday town hall that Trump was "debasing himself" in front of Putin.

Other reports by iNewsToday