President Donald Trump is facing bipartisan pressure over when he was informed of intelligence that Russia had offered bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops, and what action he took.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the White House was aware of the intelligence as early as January 2019 and that Trump was given the information in a written briefing.
That was months before three US Marines were killed in an April 2019 roadside bombing in Afghanistan, which is now being investigated by US intelligence for links to a Russian bounty offer.
Trump has denied being briefed on the intelligence and suggested the reports were not credible.
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A US intelligence investigation into an alleged Russian plot to offer Taliban militants bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan has spurred questions about what the Trump administration knew, and when they knew it.
On Friday, The New York Times broke the news that US intelligence officials believe a Russian military intelligence agency secretly offered and paid out some bounty money.
Since then, the possibility that the Trump administration knew of the intelligence and failed to act has sparked concern from both parties and reignited scrutiny over President Donald Trump’s behavior towards Russia.
Both Democrats and Republicans have since questioned whether and when Trump was briefed on the intelligence and, if so, what he did with the information.
“If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is true, the White House must explain: 1: Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the [President’s Daily Brief]? 2. Who did know and when? 3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold [Russian President Vladimir] Putin accountable?” Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, tweeted Sunday.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that top White House officials had learned of the potential Russian bounty offers by January 2019.
Citing US officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence, the Associated Press also reported that the information was given to President Donald Trump in at least one of his written daily intelligence briefings at the time. Trump has been known to avoid reading those briefings.
Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, told colleagues he also briefed Trump on the issue in March 2019, according to the Associated Press, though he declined to confirm the information to the outlet on Monday.
The controversy over the timing of the intelligence briefings comes amid an investigation into which attacks, specifically, may have involved Russian bounties. The Washington Post reported June 28 that US intelligence sources believe the bounty offers have caused the deaths of several US troops, though the exact number is unclear.
The US intelligence community is now investigating the deaths of three US Marines who were killed in April 2019 in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan that the Taliban later claimed credit for.
In total, 20 Americans died in combat in Afghanistan that year, according to The Times, though it’s still unconfirmed which of those deaths are being investigated …read more
Source:: Business Insider