Trump denies being briefed on alleged Russian bounty on US soldiers

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON US President Donald Trump denied yesterday he had been briefed on intelligence that reportedly showed Russia had offered bounties to Taleban-linked militants for killing US soldiers in Afghanistan.

In a pair of tweets, Mr Trump angrily slammed the report by The New York Times as "probably just another phony Times hit job, just like their failed Russia Hoax".

"Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an 'anonymous source' by the Fake News @nytimes," he wrote.

"Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us...

"Nobody's been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration."

On Friday, the Times reported that US intelligence had concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit offered rewards to Taleban-linked militants to kill troops of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan.

Mr Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, said during a virtual town hall on Saturday that the report, if true, is a "truly shocking revelation".

"Not only has he failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before (Russian President) Vladimir Putin," Mr Biden said.

Mr Ben Rhodes, a former national security aide to Mr Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter: "The idea that Trump wouldn't be briefed on Russia putting a bounty on US troops is even crazier than him being briefed and doing nothing." - AFP, REUTERS