In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi weighed in on the allegations that Russia offered Islamist militants bounties to kill American troops stationed in Afghanistan, Politico reported.
Pelosi suggested that Russia has dirt on President Donald Trump.
“Just as I have said to the president: With him, all roads lead to Putin,” the top Democrat told This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos. “I don’t know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, or financially.”
Pressed by Stephanopoulos on whether she believes the Russian government has dirt on the commander in chief, Pelosi responded with a question.
“Why wouldn’t he say, let’s look into it and see what this [is]? How do you answer to the families of those who — family members who are serving there?” she asked.
The House speaker argued that Trump has had an accommodating stance toward Russia, pointing out that the president wants the country to re-join the Group of Seven. She also noted that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Earlier this week, White House officials said that Trump was not briefed on the alleged situation in Afghanistan.
If the commander in chief was not briefed on the alleged intelligence, Pelosi asked, “what does that say about the concern that those who briefed the president have about not going anywhere near the Russia issue with this president?”
As Politico noted, Trump reiterated on Sunday that neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence was briefed on the allegations. In a tweet, the president said that “nobody’s been tougher on Russia” than him, arguing that former President Barack Obama’s administration allowed Putin to attack Ukraine.
According to some U.S. leaders, Trump was briefed on the alleged scandal, but the White House’s National Security Council decided not to take action.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have demanded transparency.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a prominent Trump ally, said that he expects the administration to investigate the matter. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, a Democrat, called for new sanctions against Russia.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming demanded answers from the White House as well, while former national security adviser John Bolton suggested that he was not surprised by the president’s response.
The Lincoln Project, a group of former GOP strategists and operatives, also criticized Trump for his handling of the alleged situation in Afghanistan. In an advertisement released on Saturday, the group accused the president of betraying American troops.