Pelosi Demands Full Congressional Briefing On Russian Bounty Scheme

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi points while speaking during her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill on September 26 2019. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is calling on the Trump administration to brief the full House of Representatives on intelligence reports that Russia offered to pay members of the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“The Administration’s disturbing silence and inaction endanger the lives of our troops and our coalition partners,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel on Monday. “The President’s refusal to stand up to the Russians also jeopardizes lives in the region, as the Afghan government and the United States are engaged in critical peace negotiations with the Taliban.”

The letter comes after Pelosi admonished the president on Sunday for acquiescing to the Russian government, following a  New York Times report that Russia had secretly offered bounties to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The report said that Trump was briefed on the finding, and that the White House’s National Security Council had discussed the matter at an interagency meeting in late March.

“Just as I have said to the president: With him, all roads lead to Putin,” Pelosi said on Sunday, referring to Trump’s relationship with the Russian president Vladimir Putin. “I don’t know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, or financially.”

Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but the Times said it was not clear which killings had been linked to the scheme.

President Trump has denied allegations that the report was shared with him, calling it “possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax” in a tweet late Sunday.

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