Trump denies briefing on reported bounties against US troops

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LYNN BERRY and ZEKE MILLER,

AP

June 28, 2020 | 8:55 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Sunday denied that he had been briefed on reported U.S. intelligence {that a} Russian navy intelligence unit secretly provided bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan, and he appeared to reduce the allegations in opposition to Moscow.

American intelligence officers concluded months in the past that Russian officers provided rewards for profitable assaults on American service-members final 12 months, at a time when the U.S. and Taliban have been holding talks to finish the long-running battle, in accordance with The New York Times.

Trump, in a Sunday morning tweet, stated “Nobody briefed or told me” or Vice President Mike Pence or chief of employees 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 stated.

The White House had issued a press release Saturday 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 stated.

Trump’s director of nationwide intelligence, John Ratcliffe, additionally stated neither the president nor vp was “ever briefed on any intelligence alleged” within the Times’ report and he stated the White House assertion was “accurate.”

Trump’s tweet got here a day after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden stated that the report, if correct, was a “truly shocking revelation” in regards to the commander in chief and his failure to guard U.S. troops in Afghanistan and stand as much as Russia.

Russia referred to as 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 stated.

A Taliban spokesman stated the militants “strongly reject this allegation” and should not “indebted to the beneficence of any intelligence organ or foreign country.”

The Times, citing unnamed officers accustomed to the intelligence, stated the findings have been introduced to Trump and mentioned by his National Security Council in late March. Officials developed potential responses, beginning with a diplomatic grievance to Russia, however the White House has but to authorize any step, the report stated.

Trump responded to Biden on Twitter, saying “Russia ate his and Obama’s lunch during their time in office”

But it was the Obama administration, together with worldwide allies, that suspended Russia from the Group of Eight after its unilateral annexation of Crimea from Ukraine — a transfer that drew widespread condemnation.

Biden criticized Trump for “his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself” earlier than Russian chief Vladimir Putin. Trump tweeted that “Nobody’s been tougher” on Russia than his administration.