President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he was never briefed about the reported Russian efforts to pay bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
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.
Russiaâs 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.
Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff also questioned why, if Trumpâs claims were true, he was not told about the bounty offer.
âIf he was briefed and still wanted Russia back in the G-8, itâs even worse,â Schiff tweeted.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged tough sanctions against Russia in the defense bill that the Senate will debate this week.
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