Duckworth Decries Trump Inaction On Bounty Report
Former combat veteran, Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, condemned the inaction of US President Donald Trump over reports that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan
Source: Associated Press
Former combat veteran, Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, condemned the inaction of US President Donald Trump over reports that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan.
After reports of the bounties surfaced, Duckworth said Trump, "went right on placing Russian interests ahead of American lives."
"Not once, not once in the past 72 hours has he found the time to express outrage that American servicemen and women are dead," Duckworth said on the Senate floor.
A sitting member of the Senate Armed Forces committee, Duckworth is demanding a briefing from leaders in the intelligence community as to what the president knew about the bounties.
The White House is continuing to insist Monday that the president wasn't briefed on U.S. intelligence assessments earlier this year that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan because the information had not been verified.
In an afternoon briefing, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany added that Trump had not been briefed on the allegations because the intelligence would not be elevated to the president until it was verified.
However, the White House seemed to be setting an unusually high bar for bringing the information to Trump, since it is rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of doubt before it is presented to senior government decision-makers.
The result was an odd situation in which eight Republican lawmakers attended a briefing at the White House on Monday about explosive allegations that the president himself was said to have not been fully read in on. McEnany declined to say why a different standard of confidence in the intelligence applied to briefing lawmakers than bringing the information to the president.
A White House official said Democrats also were invited to a White House briefing. It was scheduled to take place Tuesday morning, according to two Democratic aides.
The intelligence assessments came amid Trump’s push to withdraw the U.S. from Afghanistan. They suggested Russia was making overtures to militants as the U.S. and the Taliban held talks to end the long-running war. The assessment was first reported by The New York Times, then confirmed to The Associated Press by American intelligence officials and two others with knowledge of the matter.
One official said the administration discussed several potential responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step.
Intelligence officials told the AP that Trump was briefed on the bounty matter earlier this year; Trump denied that, tweeting Sunday that neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed. Trump tweeted Sunday night he was just told intelligence officials didn’t report the information to him because they didn’t find it credible.
The intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the matter insisted on anonymity to discuss the highly sensitive matter.
By: Associated Press Television News
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