Chicago Sun-Times

TRUMP PRES­SURED ON RUSSIA BOUN­TIES

- BY MARY CLARE JALONICK, ZEKE MILLER AND JAMES LAPORTA US Elections · U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Russia, NY · Washington · Donald Trump · Russia · Afghanistan · Democratic Party (United States) · Vladimir Putin · United States of America · White House · Taliban · Republican Party (United States) · United States Senate · New York City · White House Press Secretary · Steny H. Hoyer · Adam Schiff · Mitch McConnell · McConnell · Kayleigh McEnany

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Tues­day came under grow­ing pres­sure to re­spond to al­le­ga­tions that Russia of­fered boun­ties for killing Amer­i­can troops in Afghanista­n, with Democrats de­mand­ing answers and ac­cus­ing Trump of bow­ing to Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin at the risk of U.S. sol­diers’ lives.

Frus­trated House Democrats re­turn­ing from a brief­ing at the White House said they learned noth­ing new about Amer­i­can in­tel­li­gence as­sess­ments that sug­gested Russia was mak­ing over­tures to mil­i­tants as the U.S. and the Tal­iban held talks to end the con­flict in Afghanista­n. Se­nate Repub­li­cans who at­tended a separate brief­ing largely de­fended the pres­i­dent, ar­gu­ing along with the White House that the in­tel­li­gence was un­ver­i­fied.

The in­tel­li­gence as­sess­ments were first re­ported by The New York Times, then con­firmed to The As­so­ci­ated Press by Amer­i­can in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials and others with knowl­edge of the mat­ter.

White House press sec­re­tary Kayleigh McE­nany said Tues­day that Trump had been briefed on the in­tel­li­gence, a day af­ter say­ing he hadn’t be­cause it had not been ver­i­fied. McE­nany added that there were still reser­va­tions within the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity on the ve­rac­ity of the al­le­ga­tions.

“Make no mis­take. This pres­i­dent will al­ways pro­tect Amer­i­can troops,” she said.

Ma­jor­ity Leader Steny Hoyer and a small group of other House Democrats met with White House of­fi­cials as Trump down­played the al­le­ga­tions. House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair­man Adam Schiff, one of the Democrats who at­tended the brief­ing, said it was “in­ex­pli­ca­ble” why Trump won’t say pub­licly that he is work­ing to get to the bot­tom of the is­sue and why he won’t call out Putin.

But Se­nate Repub­li­cans seemed less con­cerned. Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell said he didn’t think Trump should be “sub­jected to ev­ery ru­mor.”

“Con­clu­sions, ap­par­ently, were not reached,” McCon­nell said.

 ?? ALEX BRAN­DON/AP ?? Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has been briefed on al­le­ga­tions of Rus­sian boun­ties, the White House press sec­re­tary said Tues­day.
ALEX BRAN­DON/AP Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has been briefed on al­le­ga­tions of Rus­sian boun­ties, the White House press sec­re­tary said Tues­day.

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