President Donald Trump is denying that he'd been briefed on reported bounties on US troops
28 June 2020

Trump denies being briefed on reported bounties against US troops

Donald Trump has denied being briefed on reported US intelligence that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan.

American intelligence officials concluded months ago that Russian officials offered rewards for successful attacks on American service-members last year, at a time when the US and Taliban were holding talks to end the long-running war, according to The New York Times.

Trump, in a Sunday morning tweet, said: “Nobody briefed or told me” or Vice President Mike Pence or chief of staff Mark Meadows about “the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians.

"Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us,” he said.

The White House had issued a statement on Saturday denying that Trump or Pence had been briefed on such intelligence. “This does not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.

Trump's director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, also said neither the president nor vice president was “ever briefed on any intelligence alleged” in the Times' report and he said the White House statement was “accurate".

Trump's tweet came a day after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said that the report, if accurate, was a “truly shocking revelation” about the commander in chief and his failure to protect US troops in Afghanistan and stand up to Russia.

Russia called the report “nonsense".

"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,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

A Taliban spokesman said the militants “strongly reject this allegation” and are not “indebted to the beneficence of any intelligence organ or foreign country".

John Bolton, a former national security adviser who was forced out by Trump last September and has now written a tell-all book about his time at the White House, said on Sunday that "it is pretty remarkable the president’s going out of his way to say he hasn’t heard anything about it, one asks, why would he do something like that?”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a member of the “Gang of Eight” congressional leaders briefed on sensitive intelligence matters, told ABC's “This Week” that she had not been been informed about the reported bounties and requested a report to Congress on the matter.

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