Calls for answers on Russian bounty program grow
(NBC News) The White House continued to insist Tuesday that President Trump was never briefed on an alleged Russian intelligence program that offered bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, despite multiple reports to the contrary.
Demands for answers are intensifying as new details emerge about the alleged offer of money to the Taliban in exchange for targeting U.S. troops.
A group of Democratic lawmakers was briefed at the White House Tuesday, one day after a similar briefing for Republicans.
“I find it inexplicable – in light of these very public allegations – that the President hasn’t come before the country and assure the American people that he will get to the bottom of whether Russians are putting a bounty on the heads of American troops,” Rep. Adam Schiff said after the briefing.
“It’s an absolute dereliction of duty, if even any of this is remotely true,” former Vice President Joe Biden said. “So I think the president’s a lot to answer for and should get the answers quickly.”
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters once again that President Trump was unaware of the alleged bounty program.
“It was not briefed to the president – there is no consensus – it was not credible,” McEnany said.
The New York Times has reported U.S. officials gave the president a written briefing in February.
As U.S. officials try to determine if any Americans died because of the alleged Russian bounties, the Times is citing multiple officials familiar with the matter who say the investigation “has focused in part on an April 2019 car bombing that killed three Marines as one such potential attack.”
That’s around the same time the Associated Press says then-National Security Advisor John Bolton briefed the president on the issue. Bolton will not confirm that because it could be classified.
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