Politics Trump Admits He’s Never Talked to Putin About Bounties for Killing U.S. Troops
Trump talks coronavirus, arms control in phone call with Putin
President Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone on Thursday, discussing the novel coronavirus, arms control negotiations and other matters.The call marked Trump's first phone conversation with Putin since last month, and comes days after the United States, United Kingdom and Canada accused Moscow of attempting to hack coronavirus vaccine research.The phone call is also Trump's first with Putin since the explosive New York Times report about a U.S. intelligence assessment that Russia offered bounties to Taliban insurgents for launching attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
In all of his discussions with Vladimir Putin, the most recent of which was last week, President Trump has never brought up U.S. intelligence reports suggesting that, he admitted in an .
“I have never discussed it with him,” Trump said before dismissing the intelligence as “fake news.”
Trump Admits He’s ‘Never’ Mentioned Bounties to Putin Because He Thinks It’s ‘Fake News’
President Donald Trump has admitted that he failed to mention U.S. intelligence that indicates Russia paid the Taliban to kill American troops during a call with Vladimir Putin last week. In fact, Trump says he has “never” brought up the issue with the Russian president apparently because he doesn’t believe the CIA. The New York Times reported back in June that U.S. intelligence officials concluded “months ago” that a Russian military intelligence unit paid out for each U.S. or allied soldier killed. There is some disagreement in the intelligence community—the National Security Agency reportedly disagreed with the CIA’s findings.
In late June, the New York Times reported that U.S. intelligence “concluded months ago” that the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency,. The article said Trump was briefed on the information but hadn’t authorized any response.
The White House denied both angles of the story. Trump said he was never briefed on the subject, and the National Intelligence Council produced a memo.
Trump returned to both of those points in the interview, insisting that the information never reached his desk and that the intelligence community “didn’t think it was real.” Reports have suggested that the information on the bounty program was included in Trump’s daily written brief, but the White House says he was never orally briefed on the subject. It has been widely reported that Trump doesn’t read his Daily Brief, though he disputed that too.
Trump says he didn't confront Putin about Russia paying for Taliban attacks on US soldiers because he considers it 'fake news'
Previous reporting by Insider confirmed that Taliban-affiliated groups have taken Russian money to attack US forces.In an interview on "Axios on HBO"on Tuesday, Trump was asked if he raised the issue with Putin. He replied: "I have never discussed it with him.
“I read it a lot,” he told Axios on HBO. “They like to say I don’t read. I comprehend extraordinarily well, probably better than anyone that you’ve interviewed in a long time.”
Reporter Jonathan Swan changed the subject slightly from Russia’s alleged bounty program to reports that it’s supplying weapons to the Taliban. “Isn’t that enough to challenge Putin over the killings of U.S. soldiers,” he asked.
Trump made excuses on Russia’s behalf, bringing up the U.S. supplying the mujahideen in the 1980s. “Well, we supplied weapons when they were fighting Russia, too,” he said, suggesting that since the U.S. supplied weapons to Russia’s enemies in Afghanistan 40 years ago, it’s excusable for Russia to supply weapons to U.S. enemies there now.
Trump says he didn't believe intelligence on Russia paying bounties on U.S. troops 'to be real' .
President Trump on Friday disputed a finding by U.S. intelligence that Russia paid bounties to Taliban fighters in exchange for killing American troops stationed in Afghanistan. “It was never brought to my attention, and perhaps it was never brought because I didn’t consider it to be real,” Trump said during a visit to Orlando, Florida, adding, “If it did take place, it would have been brought to my attention and I would take very strong action.”Yet the finding by U.S. intelligence was included in one of the president’s daily brief in late February, and Trump was asked Friday whether that meant he didn’t read them.“It was never brought to my attention.