In an interview with MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle, Pelosi pointed out that Trump has repeatedly used the term “hoax” to describe different events and allegations.
“He’ll say this is a hoax, and it’s a hoax that [Russia is] 24/7 trying to disrupt our elections like they did in 2016. He says that coronavirus is a hoax,” the top Democrat said.
“The fact is, the president himself is a hoax.”
Pelosi made the comment while discussing recent reports that Russian intelligence officials offered Islamist militants bounties to murder American soldiers.
As reported by The New York Times, U.S. officials are “confident” that the Russians paid the Taliban to carry out the murders, but it remains unclear what the operation’s aim may be. Some officials have suggested that the Russian government may be trying to derail peace talks or seek revenge on NATO.
The NYT report also alleged that Trump and the White House were briefed on the situation. The president and his advisers allegedly discussed imposing tougher sanctions on Russia, but ultimately decided not to take action.
Trump has been accused of conspiring with the Russian government to win the 2016 presidential election. In addition, he has been criticized for making statements against NATO and arguing that Russia needs to rejoin the Group of Seven (G7).
The White House said earlier this week that the president was, in fact, not briefed on the matter.
As The Hill noted, a select group of lawmakers — including Pelosi — discussed the issue on Thursday with top intelligence officials. In a joint statement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the House speaker argued that Trump has been “soft” on Russia, calling on the president to read his daily briefings.
“These reports are coming to light in the context of the President being soft on Vladimir Putin when it comes to NATO, the G7, Crimea, Ukraine and the ongoing undermining of the integrity of our elections,” they said.
Pelosi criticized the Trump administration’s response to the allegations last week, suggesting that the Kremlin has dirt on the president.
“I don’t know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, or financially,” she told This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have urged the White House to investigate the matter, with some calling for new sanctions against Russia.
Notably, former National Security Advisor John Bolton said that he was not surprised by Trump’s response to the scandal.