Schiff: Trump ‘Affinity’ For Russia Amid Bounty Scheme Poses National Security Threat

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: Chairman of House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol December 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chairman of House Judiciary Com... WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: Chairman of House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol December 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chairman of House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced that the House Judiciary Committee is introducing two articles on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for the next steps in the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) said on Tuesday that President Trump’s claims that he was not briefed on the Russian scheme to target and kill American and coalition forces in Afghanistan are inexcusable. Schiff added that Trump’s “affinity” for Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to pose a national security threat.

“There may be a reluctance to brief the President on things he doesn’t want to hear and that may be more true with respect to Putin and Putin’s Russia than with respect to any other subject matter,” Schiff said in a press conference after a White House briefing on the issue Tuesday. “Many of us do not understand his affinity for that autocratic ruler who means our nation ill.”

The White House has repeatedly denied that Trump was ever personally briefed on the Russian bounty intelligence, as the President swore ignorance on the matter in tweets on Sunday. Trump initially claimed that he had not been briefed, and then that the findings, which were first publicly reported by The New York Times, were not “credible.”

Schiff rebuked Trump for his unwillingness to come forward amid public allegations that Russian operatives are putting a bounty on the heads of American troops. “His responsibility as commander-in-chief is to protect our troops,” Schiff said.

“The president of the United States should not be inviting Russia into the G7 or G8. We should be considering what sanctions are appropriate to further deter Russia’s malign activities,” the congressman said.

Schiff’s remarks weighing sanctions follow growing evidence that Trump was briefed in writing in late February regarding a Russian bounty plot to reward Taliban-linked militants for killing U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The Kremlin has denied the veracity of the allegations calling them “lies,” according to “PBS News Hour.”

Schiff also said that he had requested intelligence agencies to brief his committee on the issue.

The alleged Russian bribery scheme would suggest Russia’s burgeoning ties with the Taliban, an assessment made in 2018 by then-U.S. Commander Gen. John Nicholson.


Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: