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World

Trump denies being told about Russian bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan

  • “Nobody briefed or told me, Pence, or Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians,” Trump tweeted.
Published June 29, 2020

President Donald Trump said on Sunday he was never briefed about the reported Russian efforts to pay bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan, blasting a New York Times report on the bounties.

“Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians,” Trump tweeted, calling on the newspaper to name its anonymous source. “Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us.” In a separate tweet late on Sunday, Trump added: “Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP.”

The Times reported on Friday that U.S. intelligence had concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit linked to assassination attempts in Europe had offered rewards for successful attacks last year on American and coalition soldiers, and that Islamist militants were believed to have collected some bounty money.

The White House and Director of National Intelligence on Saturday denied the report. Russia’s foreign ministry also dismissed it.

On Sunday, the newspaper published an additional report saying U.S. intelligence and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted superiors as early as January to the suspected Russian plot to pay bounties, citing officials briefed on the matter.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, part of the so-called Gang of Eight lawmakers who receive frequent intelligence briefings, said she was not aware of the assessment and called for Congress to be briefed.

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