Pelosi wants a full report on Russian rewards against US troops

President Donald Trump makes comments to US troops, with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani standing behind him, during an unannounced visit to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, on November 28, 2019.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, asked the Trump administration on Monday to report to all members of the House on reports that Russia offered rewards to Taliban-linked militants for killing the American troops in Afghanistan.

“The questions that arise are: Was the President informed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not informed,” Pelosi said in a letter to National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe and the CIA chief, Gina Haspel.

President Donald Trump has denied being informed of the U.S. intelligence findings, first reported by The New York Times and later confirmed by other media, that a Russian military intelligence unit covertly offered rewards from Afghan militants for killing the forces. of the coalition. But a U.S. official told the Times that the intelligence assessment had leaked to the highest levels of the White House, and another told the newspaper that it had been added to Trump’s daily report.

“Congress and the country need answers now,” Pelosi said in the letter. “Therefore, I request an inter-agency report for all members of the House immediately. Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this major threat to US troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable. “

“The disturbing silence and inaction of the Administration endanger the lives of our troops and our coalition partners,” he added. “The president’s refusal to confront the Russians is also life-threatening in the region, as the Afghan government and the United States are engaged in critical peace negotiations with the Taliban.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, in a Fox News interview on Monday morning, rejected the Times reports, saying Trump was never informed about the reported intelligence and that the president has been “very tough.” with Russia.

McEnany suggested he would address the reports during a White House press conference scheduled for Monday afternoon. He also said, as some media outlets reported on Monday, that select members of Congress would be briefed on the Russia issue.

Trump tweeted Sunday that no one had informed intelligence vice president Mike Pence or White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about the intelligence.

“Everyone denies it and there have not been many attacks on us,” Trump said in the tweets, adding: “No one has been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration.”

On Sunday night, Trump tweeted: “Intel just informed me that they did not find this credible information and therefore did not report it to me” or Pence. The president, without providing evidence, speculated in that tweet that the story may have been a fabrication to “make Republicans look bad.”

Democrats, including suspected presidential candidate Joe Biden, have been quick to criticize the Trump administration for failing to hold Russia accountable in light of intelligence, which has reportedly been targeted by US intelligence officials since January.

The Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that intelligence had been circulating within the Trump administration since at least early spring.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Russia’s rewards to Taliban-linked forces are believed to have killed multiple members of the US service, citing information obtained from US military interrogations of captured militants.

A Taliban spokesman denied having made deals with Russian intelligence, the Times reported.