The bounties Russia allegedly put on US troops in Afghanistan led to at least one US soldier's death, sources tell the New York Times. President Trump has denied reports that he was briefed on the plot, in which Russia promised to pay the Taliban if they killed American troops, but the Times' sources say US intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan told superiors about the scheme as early as January. The plot allegedly played out in 2019, and after the US spies and commandos recovered a large amount of US cash during a raid on a Taliban outpost and followed up that find with interrogations of captured militants and other criminals, the intelligence community came to its conclusions about the bounty plot. Officials have since then been reviewing combat casualties over an 18-month period; the Washington Post's sources say "several" deaths are believed to have come as a result of the plot.
Trump on Sunday night reiterated his previous denial: "Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP," he tweeted. "Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!" But one official tells the Times there was broad agreement within the intelligence community that the info was credible, and the paper's sources insist it was under discussion at the White House as early as March. Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she was never briefed on the intel, and Democrats and Republicans alike are calling for the administration to respond to the Russian plot as well as to offer more transparency about the intelligence community's assessment of the plot. Select members of Congress will be briefed on the matter by the White House on Monday, the AP reports. (Read more Russia stories.)