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Top Democrats asks US spy chiefs for briefing on Russia bounty reports

Top Democrats asks US spy chiefs for briefing on Russia bounty reports

AFP
Washington
Top Democrats on Monday called on the heads of the intelligence services to brief Congress on reports that Russia paid bounties to Taliban-linked militias to kill US soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.
An explosive New York Times report, citing anonymous officials, said US President Donald Trump had been told about findings, which he has denied.
Both Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, called for an urgent briefing on the reports.
“So there will be a briefing today,” Kayleigh McEnany, the White House spokeswoman, said on the Fox News channel as concern around the reports grew.
“I think it will clear up a lot of the false reporting from ‘The New York Times.’ The president has made clear that he’s never been briefed,” she said.
The US news outlet Politico said the briefing would be held in the White House, but Pelosi’s office said they had not received an invite.
In a letter released earlier and addressed to John Ratcliffe, the Director of National Intelligence, and CIA director Gina Haspel, Pelosi said, “The questions that arise are: was the president briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed.” The Times report, which has been confirmed by several American and British media outlets, said that US intelligence concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit offered rewards to Taliban-linked militants to kill troops of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan.
The rewards were purportedly incentives to target US forces as Trump tries to withdraw troops from the conflict-torn country -- one of the militants’ key demands -- and end America’s longest war.