Trump de­nies brief­ing about boun­ties on U.S. troops

San Francisco Chronicle - - NATION - By Lynn Berry and Zeke Miller Lynn Berry and Zeke Miller are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Trump de­nied Sunday that he had been briefed on re­ported U.S. in­tel­li­gence that a Rus­sian mil­i­tary unit se­cretly of­fered boun­ties to Tal­iban­linked mil­i­tants for killing Amer­i­can troops in Afghanista­n, and he ap­peared to min­i­mize the al­le­ga­tions against Moscow.

Amer­i­can of­fi­cials con­cluded months ago that Rus­sian of­fi­cials of­fered re­wards for suc­cess­ful at­tacks on Amer­i­can ser­vice­mem­bers last year, at a time when the U.S. and Tal­iban were hold­ing talks to end the long­run­ning war, ac­cord­ing to the New York Times.

Trump, in a Sunday morn­ing tweet, said “No­body briefed or told me” or Vice

Pres­i­dent Mike Pence or chief of staff Mark Mead­ows about “the so­called at­tacks on our troops in Afghanista­n by Rus­sians.”

The White House is­sued a state­ment deny­ing that Trump or Pence had been briefed on such in­tel­li­gence. “This does not speak to the merit of the al­leged in­tel­li­gence but to the in­ac­cu­racy of the New York Times story er­ro­neously sug­gest­ing that Pres­i­dent Trump was briefed on this mat­ter,” press sec­re­tary Kayleigh MCE­nany said.

Trump’s tweet came a day after pre­sump­tive Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Bi­den said the re­port, if ac­cu­rate, was a “truly shock­ing rev­e­la­tion” about the com­man­der in chief and his fail­ure to pro­tect U.S. troops in Afghanista­n and stand up to Rus­sia.

Rus­sia dis­missed the re­port.

“This un­so­phis­ti­cated plant clearly il­lus­trates the low in­tel­lec­tual abil­i­ties of the pro­pa­gan­dists of Amer­i­can in­tel­li­gence, who in­stead of in­vent­ing some­thing more plau­si­ble have to make up this non­sense,” the Rus­sian For­eign Min­istry said.

A Tal­iban spokesman also re­jected the re­port.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a mem­ber of the “Gang of Eight” con­gres­sional lead­ers briefed on sen­si­tive in­tel­li­gence mat­ters, told ABC’S “This Week” that she had not been been in­formed about the re­ported boun­ties and re­quested a re­port to Congress on the mat­ter.

“This is as bad as it gets, and yet the pres­i­dent will not con­front the Rus­sians on this score, de­nies be­ing briefed. Whether he is or not, his ad­min­is­tra­tion knows and our al­lies — some of our al­lies who work with us in Afghanista­n had been briefed and ac­cept this re­port,” she said.

The Times, cit­ing un­named of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the in­tel­li­gence, said the find­ings were pre­sented to Trump and dis­cussed by his Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil in late March. Of­fi­cials de­vel­oped po­ten­tial re­sponses, start­ing with a diplo­matic com­plaint to Rus­sia, but the White House has yet to au­tho­rize any step, the re­port said.

Bi­den crit­i­cized Trump for “his em­bar­rass­ing cam­paign of def­er­ence and de­bas­ing him­self ” be­fore Rus­sian leader Vladimir Putin.

Drew An­gerer / Getty Images

Pres­i­dent Trump was told of Rus­sia of­fer­ing boun­ties to Tal­iban mil­i­tants for killing Amer­i­can troops, the New York Times re­ported.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.