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Trump: No One Told Me Russia Offered Bounties on US Soldiers

President said he was never briefed on report that Russia paid Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 28, 2020 8:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump on Sunday denied that he had been briefed on reported US intelligence that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan, and he minimized the allegations against Moscow. American intelligence officials concluded months ago that Russian officials offered rewards for successful attacks on American service-members last year, at a time when the US and Taliban were holding talks to end the long-running war, per 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 so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians.” "Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us,” he said, per the AP.

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The White House issued a statement Saturday denying that Trump or Pence had been briefed on such intelligence. Trump's director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, also said neither the president nor vice president was “ever briefed on any intelligence alleged” in the Times' report. Trump's tweet came a day after Joe Biden said that the report, if accurate, was a “truly shocking revelation” about the commander in chief and his failure to protect US troops in Afghanistan and stand up to Russia. Russia called the report “nonsense." "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 said the militants “strongly reject this allegation” and are not “indebted to the beneficence of any intelligence organ or foreign country.” Trump responded to Biden on Twitter, saying “Russia ate his and Obama’s lunch during their time in office"

(Read more President Trump stories.)

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