McEnany: Russian bounties unverified by intelligence agency

Top Democrats ask US spy chiefs for briefing on Russia bounty reports

According to The New York Times, the United States intelligence community concluded that Russian Federation may have offered bounties to Afghan militants for killing USA troops deployed to the Central Asian country.

Trump has denied ever being briefed on the intelligence.

The White House did not respond to questions about Trump or other officials' awareness of Russia's provocations in 2019.

It is rare for intelligence to be fully confirmed before presented to top officials. The assessments were included in one of Trump's written daily briefings at the time, and then-national security adviser John Bolton told colleagues he had briefed Trump on the matter. On Sunday, he suggested to NBC's "Meet the Press" that Trump was claiming ignorance of Russia's provocations to justify his administration's lack of a response.

Mr Bolton said: "He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it".

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also issued a statement late Monday after speaking separately with Ratcliffe and Haspel, saying that she called upon the two to "follow up" on her formal request (pdf) for a "full House briefing" on the intelligence about the Russian bounties.

McEnany declined to say why a different standard of confidence in the intelligence applied to briefing lawmakers than bringing the information to the president. O'Brien denies he did so. But the episode has drawn new attention on the president's efforts to build warmer relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The information they received was not previously known, according to one aide who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We need to know whether or not President Trump was told this information, and if so, when", he said.

U.S. officials discovered information about the bounties through interrogations of militants and criminals earlier this year. The funds bolstered the suspicions of the American intelligence community that the Russians had offered money to Taliban militants and other linked associations. Depending on where the facts lead, there should be no invitation for the Russian Federation to rejoin the G7 and you should impose sanctions directly on both President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov. And officials told the AP that O'Brien did brief Trump on the matter.

"I expect the Trump administration to take such allegations seriously and inform Congress immediately as to the reliability of these news reports", he said.

The intelligence assessments came amid Trump's push to withdraw the US from Afghanistan.

The latest report comes days after The Times first reported that USA intelligence officials assessed that Russia's military intelligence agency paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Afghanistan. Officials are focused in particular on an April 2019 attack on an American convoy.

One incident under review was an April 2019 attack by the Taliban on an American convoy that killed three U.S. marines, the AP said, citing unidentified sources.

The Marines exchanged gunfire with the vehicle at some point; however, it's not known if the gunfire occurred before or after the auto exploded.

A select group of Republican lawmakers was briefed on the intelligence report on Monday.

Two of the Marines were scheduled to come back to the USA in less than two weeks from the bombing.

The Defence Department identified Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, from Newark, Delaware; Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, from York, Pennsylvania; and Cpl. Robert Hendriks of NY, and Sgt. Benjamin Hines of Pennsylvania were assigned to the 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division when they were killed in the bombing.

I recognize the actions your Administration have already taken against Russian behavior such as confronting them in the Ukraine, imposing heavy diplomatic costs, and advancing sober-minded nuclear policies, including efforts to modernize our nuclear triad and working to extend New START. The unit first deployed to Afghanistan in October 2018.

"He either didn't know that Russian Federation was offering bounties for killing American troops or didn't care enough to remember a briefing that told him".

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