U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that he had not been briefed about a supposed bounty program in which Russian intelligence purportedly offered Taliban fighters a bounty on American troops, The Associated Press reported.
This week, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, a report emerged that suggested that a Russian intelligence unit had secretly offered bounties to Taliban fighters, offering them money for killing coalition forces, including Americans, fighting in Afghanistan. Further, the report stated that at least some Islamist militants collected those bounties; 20 Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, although it’s unclear if any bounties were paid on those American troops.
The report went on to say that the Trump White House was briefed on the bounty program, and indeed, even developed a response plan that included several options, ranging from sending a diplomatic mission to Moscow to talk things over, to sanctions against Russia. Trump did not enact any of those steps, according to the report.
On Saturday, as Bloomberg reported at the time, the White House denied the reports. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that, though the Oval Office doesn’t generally comment on ongoing matters related to national security, the administration could confirm that the CIA director, national security adviser, and the White House chief of staff could all confirm that neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence was briefed on the purported Russian bounty program.
Russia has also denied ever carrying out such a program. As BBC News reported, in a series of tweets, the Russian Embassy in the U.S. blamed the reports on “fake news.”
On Sunday, Trump again denied having been briefed about the supposed bounty program.
“Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News @nytimes Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us…..” he tweeted at the time.
In a follow-up tweet, he claimed that nobody had been “tougher on Russia” than his administration.
Trump then went on to invoke Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and Biden’s former boss, Barack Obama.
“With Corrupt Joe Biden & Obama, Russia had a field day, taking over important parts of Ukraine – Where’s Hunter?” he wrote.
Biden, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president, had issued a statement calling the allegations a “truly shocking revelation.”
Funny to see Corrupt Joe Biden reading a statement on Russia, which was obviously written by his handlers. Russia ate his and Obama’s lunch during their time in office, so badly that Obama wanted them out of the then G-8. U.S. was weak on everything, but especially Russia!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2020