World Trump dismisses report of Russian 'bounties' on US soldiers
Trump wades into GOP dispute with Twitter jab at Cheney
The president's tweet targeting the Wyoming GOP congresswoman marks a further escalation of an intraparty dispute that erupted Tuesday.“Liz Cheney is only upset because I have been actively getting our great and beautiful Country out of the ridiculous and costly Endless Wars,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I am also making our so-called allies pay tens of billions of dollars in delinquent military costs.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed reports that Russia has been paying the Taliban bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan and said he'd not raised the issue with President Vladimir Putin.
"I have never discussed it with him," he told Axios in an interview.
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.
Trump talked by phone with Putin as recently as last Thursday.
In all, he has spoken with the Kremlin leader at least eight times since late February, when intelligence flagging alleged Russian bounties was included in the secret daily presidential briefing, Axios reported.
According to Trump, he never read that intelligence, although he told Axios in the interview recorded Tuesday that he does read his daily briefing papers.
The White House says he was only told verbally about the supposed plot to encourage killing of Americans after The New York Times published a story at the end of June.
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.
Trump told Axios that the allegations "never reached my desk" and that US intelligence "didn't think it was real."
In fact, US media reported that different agencies are rather in disagreement over whether they think the bounty scheme -- which the Times reported went as high as payments of $100,000 for soldiers killed -- was real.
In comments to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, Trump doubled down, saying that he didn't take the story seriously and had little reason to suspect Moscow.
Citing the calamity of the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Trump said Russia would have no interest in helping the Taliban. "I don't know why they'd be doing it," he said.
If it turned out to be true, Trump said he "would respond appropriately."
Trump is also dismissing reports that Russia is arming the Taliban, which has fought US-led forces in Afghanistan to a standstill and is now negotiating for their withdrawal.
Trump Says He Never Raised Taliban Bounties in Talks With Putin
President Donald Trump says he “never discussed” reports that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan with Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite having numerous phone calls as recently as last week. © Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Vladimir Putin, Russia's President, center, arrive for a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16, 2018.
The top US commander in the country in 2018, General John Nicholson, openly accused Moscow of supplying the Taliban, saying "we know that the Russians are involved."
After Trump's latest comments, White House director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah said the bounty reports "were based on unverified intel. But we still take it extremely seriously."
"The safety of U.S. forces is the President’s top priority in Afghanistan," she tweeted. "Our country has seen the very real consequences of overreacting to unverified intelligence in the past. @realDonaldTrump will not repeat these same mistakes."
A spokesman for Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden, called Trump's comments "despicable."
"Months after the US intelligence community sounded the alarm -- to Donald Trump and to our allies -- that Russia was placing bounties on the heads of American servicemen and women in a warzone, our president continues to turn his back," Andrew Bates said.
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.