President Donald Trump on Sunday denied knowing about the reported Russian efforts to pay bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill American troops in Afghanistan, Reuters reported.
In a tweet, Trump called on The New York Times to name its anonymous source on the storty. “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.
“Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us,” he added in the tweet.
“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP,” Trump said in a separate tweet.
Multiple news reports on Sunday said 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. Islamist militants were believed to have collected some bounty money, the reports added.
On Sunday, The New York Times 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.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, part of a group of U.S. lawmakers who receive frequent intelligence briefings, said she was not aware of the assessment and called for Congress to be briefed.
“There is something very wrong here. But this must have an answer,” Pelosi said on ABC News, pointing out that the President has already supported Putin by diminishing U.S. leadership in NATO, reducing U.S. forces in Germany and inviting Russia back into the G8, Reuters adds.
Pelosi, together with House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff , questioned why Trump wasn’t briefed on the matter. “If he was briefed and still wanted Russia back in the G-8, it’s even worse,” Schiff said in a tweet.