Congress demands answers from Trump administration on reward intelligence in Russia


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel to provide briefings for all members on intelligence to Congress, while Senate Republicans say they are seeking more information from the Trump administration. , too.

"Congress and the country need answers now," wrote Pelosi, a California Democrat. "Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this major threat to US troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable. The disturbing silence and inaction of the Administration threatens the lives of our troops and our coalition partners. "

The swift response underscored Congress's drive to obtain information on U.S. intelligence, and whether President Donald Trump was briefed on the matter, which Trump denied. Pelosi also said that the "Band of Eight," congressional leaders who receive information on sensitive intelligence issues, were not informed of the rewards offered to the Taliban. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees declined to comment.

"We need to know whether or not President Trump received this information and, if so, when," Schumer said in a statement demanding a briefing for the entire Senate.

This weekend, The New York Times, CNN, and other news outlets reported that Russian intelligence officers offered money to Taliban militants in Afghanistan as a reward for murdering American or British troops there. While it is unclear whether Trump was aware, there have been recent high-level discussions between the US and the UK to share intelligence, two sources familiar with the discussions told CNN.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said members of Congress would be briefed on Monday, but it is unclear who would receive the briefing or when it would take place.

Washington Post: Russian rewards to Taliban fighters believed to cause death of US troops, according to intelligence assessments

Trump described the report as "possibly another fabricated Russia hoax."

"Intel just informed me that they did not find this credible information and therefore did not report it to me or @VP," Trump tweeted Sunday night. "Possibly another Russian hoax fabricated, perhaps by Fake News @nytimesbooks, that wants to make Republicans look bad !!!"

In addition to the reports required for the House and Senate, Senate Armed Services President Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, said he has sought additional information.

"We have long known that Putin is a bully and a murderer, and if the allegations reported in the New York Times are true, I will work with President Trump on a firm response. My number one priority is the safety of our troops," Inhofe tweeted Monday. "Right now, however, we need answers. I have asked management to share what it knows, and I look forward to learning more in the coming days."

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and a close ally of Trump, said he hoped the Trump administration "would take those allegations seriously and report to Congress immediately on the reliability of these reports."

And Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, House Republican No. 3, tweeted over the weekend that if the Russians tried to bribe Taliban fighters, "the White House must explain … Why was the President not informed or vice president? the information in the (president's daily report)? "

"Who knew and when?" Cheney tweeted. "What has been done in response to protect our forces and hold Putin accountable?"

House of Representatives Armed Services Speaker Adam Smith and Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the panel, requested a briefing, committee spokeswoman Monica Matoush said.

"The US intelligence community reportedly informed the Trump administration of this assessment in late March. Acting on this information could have saved lives," Smith, a Washington Democrat, said in a statement Monday. "Why did the President not receive a briefing on such a sensitive issue? Was this information included in the Presidential Briefing? If not, why not? Was this information shared with our military leaders?"

Thornberry, a Texas Republican, told reporters Monday that he was concerned if the president had not been informed on intelligence that US troops might have been in danger.

"What the President and the DNI have said is that the President was not informed, which for me is a very worrying statement," Thornberry said. "I do not know the credibility of the information because I have not been informed, but anything with any indication of credibility that could endanger our service members, let alone give a reward for their lives, should have immediately informed me at the commander in chief and a plan to deal with that situation. "

This story has been updated with additional developments on Monday.

CNN's Kylie Atwood and Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.


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