Former national security adviser John Bolton on Sunday criticized President Trump’s response to reports that Russian military operations offered rewards to Afghan militants for killing US troops, saying Trump’s decision-making “is not connected with reality “and criticizing the president for denying that he was aware of the rewards.
Bolton’s comments, whose upcoming memoirs about his time in the Trump White House have sparked the president’s ire, come as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling for action against Moscow after reports in the New York Times. that a Russian spy unit paid the Taliban to attack US troops stationed in Afghanistan.
Trump tweeted early Sunday morning denying he had ever been briefed on Russian rewards and questioning the veracity of the New York Times reports.
“This is the problem with the president’s decision making,” Bolton said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He is not connected to reality, he is connected to his personal position.”
RUSSIAN SPY UNIT PAID TALIBAN FOR ATTACK ON UNITED STATES TROOPS, SAYS US INTELLIGENCE
Bolton added that if Trump had not really been briefed on the alleged rewards to US troops, then he should have had the report from the director of national intelligence on the matter. Former Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican, was recently confirmed as Trump’s new ID and said over the weekend that he never briefed the president on the matter.
“If the president hadn’t listened, presumably he should have called the DNI and asked,” Bolton said. “That in itself is disturbing.”
The New York Times first reported that US intelligence officials determined that a Russian military unit was secretly offering rewards to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces, including the attack on US troops. The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post also reported on the Kremlin’s efforts to mount attacks on Western troops.
The evaluation of the role played by the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU, in promoting attacks against US soldiers, comes as President Trump is pressing the Pentagon to withdraw a significant portion of US forces from Afghanistan and the US diplomats try to forge a peace deal involving the Taliban and the US-backed Afghan government.
The intelligence assessment of Russia’s actions in Afghanistan was released to the White House earlier this spring, and until recently had only been known to a handful of officials, a person familiar with it said. Its contents were reported on Friday by the New York Times.
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The reports quickly became fodder for the 2020 presidential campaign.
During a Saturday in town hall, former Vice President Joe Biden mentioned the “shocking revelation” that Trump reportedly knew about rewards for months and criticized the president for doing “something worse than nothing.”
“Not only has he failed to sanction or impose any consequences in Russia for this heinous violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his shameful campaign of deference and degradation to Vladimir Putin,” said Biden, the alleged Democratic presidential candidate for president. . “He has had this information according to the Times, and yet he offered to host Putin in the United States and sought to invite Russia to join the G7. His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin. “
On Sunday morning, Trump shot Biden, reiterating his position that Russia took advantage of him and Obama during the previous administration.
“It is fun to see the corrupt Joe Biden reading a statement about Russia, which was obviously written by his handlers,” Trump tweeted. “Russia ate her lunch and Obama’s during his time in office, so much so that Obama wanted them out of the then G8. The United States was weak in everything, but especially in Russia!”
Marissa Schultz of Fox News contributed to this report.