President of United States Donald Trump said on Sunday he was never briefed about the reported Russian efforts to pay bounties to Taliban militants to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, as Reuters reports.
“Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
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. Russia’s foreign ministry also dismissed it.
On Sunday, the news agency 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.
Pelosi cited the New York Times’ reporting and Trump’s denial as more evidence of the president ignoring allegations against Russia to accommodate President Vladimir Putin.