President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed as “Fake News” allegations that Russia offered bounties for killing American troops in Afghanistan.
He said news stories about the allegations were made up to “damage me and the Republican Party.”
Lawmakers have been demanding answers over the allegations, and Democrats have accused Trump of bowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the risk of US soldiers’ lives. Trump tweeted Wednesday that he had not been briefed on intelligence assessments that Russia offered bounties because there wasn’t corroborating evidence. Those intelligence assessments were first reported by The New York Times, then confirmed to The Associated Press by American intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the matter.
“The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party,” Trump tweeted. “The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself.” The president’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said the intelligence wasn’t brought to the president’s attention initially because it was unverified and there was no consensus among the intelligence community. But that’s a high bar — it’s rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of doubt before it is presented to senior government decision-makers.