Democrats and a leading Republican hawk on Tuesday called on President Donald Trump to consider imposing new economic sanctions on Russia if a announced Russian effort to pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan is confirmed.
Trump was pressured on Friday by a New York Times report that a Russian military intelligence unit had offered bonuses to U.S. and Allied soldiers and then reported that it had received a written brief on the matter in February.
After Trump initially said he had not been informed of the matter, the White House said that Trump had not been “personally” informed but did not say whether he had received a written report, read it and why he didn’t respond more aggressively in this case.
“The president has never been informed about this matter, this information has still not been verified and there is no consensus among the intelligence community,” the spokesperson for the Maison told reporters. -White, Kayleigh McEnany.
The shifting statements have sparked controversy among Trump’s other Republicans as well as Democrats as he seeks re-election on November 3.
House of Representatives intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff, Democrat, said Trump should take action against Moscow.
“We should consider what sanctions are appropriate to further deter malicious activity from Russia,” he told reporters after a briefing for Democrats in the White House.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called Trump’s handling of the case “a breach of duty.”
And Republican hawk John Bolton, former Trump national security adviser, told Reuters that if the allegations were true, it “amounted to a direct attack on the Americans.”
“It requires a very serious response,” he said. “It could well be asymmetric economic sanctions.
The White House sought to downplay reports from The Times and The Washington Post that it knew Russia had paid bonuses to the Taliban for killing US and coalition troops, but did not inform Trump or act on them. information.
Four U.S. government sources confirmed to Reuters that credible U.S. intelligence suggests that Russia has offered such bonuses.
A fifth person familiar with the matter said that such information was first brought to the attention of the White House around March 2019, but was then not substantiated and “could have been disinformation”.
The New York Times quoted two anonymous officials as saying that the officials had given Trump a written briefing in late February outlining their conclusion that Russia had paid premiums.
The newspaper said it was in the president’s document, Daily Brief (PDB) – the first product of US intelligence agencies that was ready to be read.
A US government source told Reuters that the equipment is sometimes included in the PDBs so that other officials can assess it.
In this case, the source indicated that the issue had been raised to a high level earlier this year, the information is considered credible and steps have been taken to formulate a response.
The source suggested that a response was still under discussion, and Trump probably did not have to be involved in verifying the information.
However, a Congressional source expressed skepticism that such information would be included in a PDB with the hope that the president would not read it and that others would deal with it.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that US officials had intercepted data showing large financial transfers from an account controlled by the Russian military intelligence agency to an account linked to the Taliban. He said it allayed disagreements in the U.S. intelligence community and undermined White House officials’ claim that the information was too uncertain to inform Trump.
(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)