Trump won’t say if he confronted Putin about Russian reported bounties on US troops

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  • President Donald Trump will not say whether he confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin over reports that Russia paid bounties to Afghan militants to kill US troops.
  • “We’re not talking about what we discussed, but we had a lot of discussions,” Trump said Monday when asked if he had discussed the matter with Putin on a recent phone call.
  • But Trump has often offered the public details of various discussions he has had with world leaders, including his Russian counterpart.
  • Last Thursday’s phone call marked Trump’s first discussion with Putin since publishing reports of the alleged Russian bounty plot.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump did not say on Monday whether he had confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin over reports that Russia had paid bounties to Afghan militants linked to the Taliban to kill American soldiers.

Trump and Putin spoke by phone last Thursday for the first time since the publication of reports on the alleged Russian bounty plot.

During a visit to North Carolina on Monday, the president was asked if he raised the Russian bonus reports during the call.

“We’re not talking about what we discussed, but we had a lot of discussions,” Trump said.

The president has regularly offered the public details of various discussions he has had with world leaders, including Putin.

And in a statement on the call, White House spokesman Judd Deere said last Thursday that the two world leaders “have discussed efforts to defeat the coronavirus pandemic while continuing to reopen global economies.”

Trump dismissed reports of the alleged Russian bounty plot as “fake news,” even though the White House said in early July that the president had been “fully briefed” on the matter. Previously, the administration had said Trump was never made aware of the information, although recent reports contradict this claim and suggest he may have been made aware of it as early as March 2019.

A U.S. intelligence investigation is also underway into the matter, which focuses at least in part on a bombing that killed three U.S. Marines in April 2019, The New York Times reported in mid-July. The Times first disclosed the story of the alleged Russian plot.

The Marines killed in the bombing near Bagram Airfield, a major base in Afghanistan, were Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman of Delaware, Cpl. Robert Hendriks of New York and Sgt. Benjamin Hines of Pennsylvania.

The White House is believed to have failed to respond against Russia, and Trump failed to raise the issue in a half-dozen phone calls with Putin that took place after February 27, when the intelligence was reportedly included. in the President’s daily written briefing. . Based on his remarks on Monday, it is also unclear whether Trump raised the reports during last week’s phone call with the Russian leader.

Trump’s relationship with Putin has been a constant checkpoint during his tenure, as he has often been seen as siding with his inflammatory Russian counterpart on a range of issues – including Russian interference in the government. 2016 US presidential election. The alleged Russian bounty plot and Trump’s apparent lack of concern about the reports add to his already controversial and unusual ties to the authoritarian Russian leader.

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