Trump denies briefing on reported bounties against U.S. troops

Tuesday, 30 Jun, 2020

Pelosi said during an interview on ABC's "This Week" that throughout Trump's presidency he has ignored allegations against misdeeds committed by Russian Federation, but that the new reports on bounties "is as bad as it gets".

"This primitive informational dump clearly demonstrates low intellectual abilities of the propagandists at the American intelligence service", Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement cited by the RIA news agency.

US President Donald Trump's denial of media reports that he was briefed by intelligence officials of an alleged conspiracy between Russian Federation and the Taliban over the killing of US troops in Afghanistan is "remarkable", former National Security Advisor (NSA) John Bolton said on Sunday (local time). "And depending on those answers, it may be appropriate for people who should have briefed the president to be removed if they did not follow their responsibilities", he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to the two top intelligence officials on June 29 demanding an immediate briefing for members of Congress.

"This is totally outrageous", she said on ABC's "This Week".

President Donald Trump said in a tweet that United States intelligence officials told him a report that the Russian government paid bounties for American and allied troops to be killed in Afghanistan wasn't credible, and therefore didn't brief him about it. Why weren't the president or vice president briefed?

Trump denied Biden's claims, reiterating his claim that the Kremlin took advantage of the former vice president as well as former President Barack Obama. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, also denied the bounty deals. Mr Trump denied possessing been briefed, writing on Twitter on Sunday that neither he nor the vice president experienced been informed "about the so-referred to as attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians". Downing Street said it could not comment on intelligence matters.

"If intelligence reports are verified that Russian Federation or any other country is placing bounties on American troops, then they need to be treated as a state sponsor of terrorism", said Thom Tillis, a Republican on the Senate Armed Forces committee, on Twitter.

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

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized Trump on Saturday and claimed Trump has not been tough enough on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He added that since the peace deal was signed, the Taliban have been careful not to target American and Coalition forces. "President while you're encouraging Russian Federation to rejoin the G8, we should mention Russian Federation is putting bounties on the heads of American soldiers.' If they didn't tell him that, it's a stunner".

"Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP", Mike Pence, Trump tweeted late on Sunday.

Twenty Americans killed previous year in the bloody Afghan war.

The White House denied the report on Saturday.