Democrats and Republicans in the United States Congress on Monday demanded immediate responses from the administration of President Donald Trump after media reported that U.S. intelligence agencies have linked the Russian rewards offers to Taliban fighters directly the death of US soldiers.
It was unclear how many Americans or coalition troops may have been targeted or killed by the Russian program, according to a report in the Washington Post, but the intelligence came from the U.S. military interrogation of combatants captured and has been transmitted from US Special Operations forces in Afghanistan.
The New York Times separately reported that intelligence agents believe at least one US military member died as a result of the reward, citing two officials informed of the matter.
The reports drew outrage from critical Trump who argued that it was inconceivable for him to have known him, of a Russian effort to kill US soldiers while seeking to improve relations with Moscow.
Intel only reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore has no relation to it or to me @VP. Maybe another Russian-made hoax, maybe from the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make the Republicans look bad !!! https://t.co/cowOmP7T1S
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
Trump sought to cast doubt on Russia’s reward for the effort, saying: on Sunday, he was never informed of the case and that intelligence officials told him it was because information n was not credible.
The Kremlin on Monday also denied the report, published by the New York Times on Friday, that Russian forces had offered to pay Taliban-linked hunters to kill Americans and Western soldiers in Afghanistan.
“These allegations are lies,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov told reporters, adding that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had never discussed these allegations.
Two government sources familiar with intelligence reporting and analysis confirmed to the Reuters News Agency that the existence of classified US intelligence reports derived from the award. Sources said government agencies and experts on the balance believed the intelligence reports to be credible.
I am calling for immediate action by the National Intelligence Administration and the CIA for all 100 Senators on reports that Russia has placed bonuses on US troops in Afghanistan.
We also need to know whether or not President Trump said that information, and if so, when.
– Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 29, 2020
Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi wrote up two intelligence officials on Monday and immediately sought a briefing for lawmakers.
“Congress and the country needs answers now. So I ask for the initiative, in short for all Members of the House immediately, “Pelosi wrote in a letter to National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel.
MP Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the Number 3 Republican Home, called to the White House to share more information with Congress, saying: if the value is true, lawmakers need to know: “Who knows and when? And, referring to Russian leader Vladimir Putin: “What has been done in response to protecting our forces and holding Putin to account?” ”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said reports Trump was aware of the Federation’s rewards would be really shocking revelation “on the commander in chief.
Imperative Congress to get to the bottom of these latest media reports from Russian GRU units in Afghanistan have offered to pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers in an effort to push America out of the region. https://t.co/dm4QWATzgg
– Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 27, 2020
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said at a news conference on Monday that members of Congress are being briefed on the matter on Monday. She added that the reason Trump himself was not made aware of the case was because there is no consensus within the intelligence community that the information is reliable and accurate.
The New York Times and Associated Press news agency also reported US servicemen and intelligence officials were to review the victims to see if they were linked to Moscow alleged payments.
An incident was in April 2019 attack by the Taliban on an American convoy that killed three US marines, the PA said, citing unidentified sources. Officials also probe whether $ 500,000 to a US Taliban raid on an outpost earlier this year was attached to this program, he added.