Politics Pompeo called before House panel over Russian bounty claims
'I don't know what the Russians have on the president': Pelosi slams Trump over reported of bounty on US troops
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday denounced President Donald Trump's response to news reports that Russia placed a bounty on U.S. troops.On Friday, The New York Times reported Trump and the National Security Council had been briefed on an intelligence report that a clandestine Russian unit had offered rewards to Afghan militants who successfully attacked coalition and U.S. troops. On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to deny knowing about the report and to disparage the Times' reporting.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee has invited Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to appear before a hearing on how the Trump administration responded to reports that U.S. intelligence was aware of Russia offering bounties to Taliban-backed fighters to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.
The hearing is set to take place on Thursday. It is titled "Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops: Why Hasn't the Administration Responded?"
Pompeo is listed as "invited" to the hearing. The State Department and the House committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether he had confirmed he would attend.
Trump Stirs New Alarm Over Russia by Dismissing Bounty Claims
President Donald Trump has publicly shrugged off allegations that Russia offered bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan, reigniting concerns that he’s more interested in preserving ties with the Kremlin than defending U.S. interests. © Bloomberg U.S. President Donald Trump listens during an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, June 26, 2020. The board, co-chaired by Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, is hosting their sixth meeting and are joined by members of the National Council for the American Worker.
The other witness for the hearing is expected to be Michael Morell, former acting and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Obama administration.
President Trump and administration officials have sought to downplay reporting last month by The New York Times and The Washington Post that said the U.S. intelligence community had concluded months ago that an arm of the Russian military intelligence service had offered financial incentives to Taliban-backed fighters to kill U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
The president has said he was not briefed on the Russian threats because the intelligence was not credible. Yet he's receivedfrom lawmakers demanding answers over the threats and the administration's response.
The Russian bounties on US troops in Afghanistan scandal, explained
Russia seems to have put bounties on US troops in Afghanistan. Trump seems to have been warned — and did nothing.The New York Times reported Friday that US intelligence officials found evidence indicating that a unit of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, had put out bounties on US troops in Afghanistan. It’s not clear how many Americans may have been killed as part of this plot, but at least one incident in April 2019 that killed three Marines in a car bomb attack near Bagram Airfield is reportedly being investigated in connection to the alleged Russian effort.
Pompeo hason the bounty claims, accusing journalists of spreading misinformation about such intelligence reports and defending the administration's policy towards Russia.
"I can assure you, that whatever reporting it is that you're referring to, that we responded in precisely the correct way," he told reporters at a press briefing at the State Department last week.
"The fact that the Russians are engaged in Afghanistan in a way that's adverse to the United States is nothing new," he said. "We took this seriously, we handled it appropriately."
Video: Former diplomat: U.S. looks ‘stupid’ on Russian bounties response (MSNBC)
Top Pentagon officials say Russian bounty program not corroborated .
Defense secretary says Russian bounty program was taken seriously but not corroborated by intelligence agencies. "All the defense intelligence agencies have been unable to corroborate that report," Esper told the House Armed Services Committee.