Afghanistan: Trump receives written briefing about 'Russia Bounty'

The White House is under pressure to reveal how much the administration is aware of Russia's allegations that the Taliban have been rewarded for killing American soldiers.

Authorities have insisted that President Donald Trump has "no personal knowledge" of the 2019 plot in Afghanistan.

But reports say the president received a written briefing earlier this year.

Mr. Trump may have received information about threats to the US military, but no action was taken.

Intelligence came amid US efforts to negotiate a peace deal to end the 19-year war in Afghanistan, and Trump's efforts to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal report quoting the names of US officials, and the Russian Military Intelligence Unit giving Taliban-linked militants to kill American troops in Afghanistan.

What is going on between Russia, the US and Afghanistan?

20 American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in 2019, but the New York Times did not specify which deaths were suspected.

The Taliban said that Russia denied the initial reports and that Russia had no deal with the intelligence community.

Trump made these allegations seeking reelection in the November election.

The BBC's diplomatic correspondent, Jonathan Marcus, said Moscow had close ties with the Taliban because it would reduce US involvement in Afghanistan.

Russia is also waging a "gray" or unannounced war against the West, he said. During the reign of President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin has become every angry smart since the fall of the Soviet Union. The US has support for Afghan legitimate fighters who contributed to the forced withdrawal of Moscow from Afghanistan in the 1980s.

What are the new developments?

On Monday, the New York Times cited two unnamed US officials, who included intelligence assessment in the president's daily brief report - in late February - in a written document with the state's intelligence department.

CNN and the Associated Press also reported that the president received intelligence during a written briefing earlier this year. Mr. Trump is said to have largely ignored the president's daily brief, which relies heavily on word of mouth by intelligence officials a few times a week.

White House press secretary Kyle McKenney did not respond when reporters asked if the information was included in the president's written briefing, only to say that Mr. Trump was "not personally briefed."

Ms McKinney also said there was "no consensus in the intelligence community" about the assessment. But former intelligence officials told U.S. media that, in previous administrations, arguments of such importance can be reported to the president, even if the evidence is not fully established.

On Monday, eight Republican congressional members, led by National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe, attended the White House briefing with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien.

Some have voiced concern over these claims, demanding that Russia and President Putin take action if the intelligence report is reviewed.

House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking members, Adam Kinzinger and Michael McCall said in a statement, "If the intelligence review process verifies the reports, we strongly encourage the administration to take swift and serious measures to maintain Putin's rule." We will. "

Representatives Liz Cheney and Mack Thornberry, top Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee, said in a separate statement: "We believe it is important to maintain any information pertaining to Russia or any other country."

Democrats were not present at the initial meeting, and they will attend a briefing with White House officials on Tuesday.

As of late Monday, The Associated Press reported that the White House bosses were aware of classified intelligence in early 2019, and the assessment was included in at least one of President Trump's daily briefings.

Separately, journalist Carl Bernstein and Trump's closest officials described the president as a "threat to national security" in how he dealt with foreign leaders.

Bernstein, one of the journalists investigating the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, wrote on CNN, "There are many concerns with [Mr.] Trump's defense [of Mr. Putin] and US President" Mr. Putin.

His report, based on anonymous sources with knowledge of hundreds of highly classified calls from foreign leaders, echoes comments made by former members of the Trump administration, including John Bolton, who served as national security adviser, and which Mr. Trump is surprisingly simple. How to run the White House ”.

In an interview to promote his book, Mr. Bolton revealed that Mr. Said Trump: "I think Putin can play them like Fidel."

What is the reference?

Unknown officials, quoted in a preliminary report by the New York Times, said months earlier that US intelligence agencies had secretly asserted that a unit of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency was secretly assisting in successful attacks on coalition forces to destabilize its rivals.

See: What is a GRU?
Islamic militants, or those closely associated with armed criminal elements, are believed to have raised some funds.

New York Times officials say the White House's National Security Council is considering how to increase sanctions on Russia.

According to the Times article on Friday, President Trump elaborated on the reports in March. Trump condemned the briefing, writing on Twitter on Sunday that he or "Vice President Mike Pence" did not comment on "Russian attacks on our troops in Afghanistan."

Former Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) agent Sergei Zirnov told BBC Russian that the action of the GRU could be part of a larger game between Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump in the global arena.

"The GRU is a heavy machine, fighting for war. Putin likes to flex his muscles when there is no chance of retaliation," Jirnov said.

President, Russia and 'Personal Briefing'

Tara McKelvey, BBC White House correspondent
Did President Trump know he was accused of killing American soldiers? Intelligence officials reported information to the White House, but the White House press secretary said the president was "not personally informed" on the matter.

His knowledge or lack thereof may be one of the unsolved Washington mysteries. However, one thing is clear, he did not pay much attention to the CIA's findings.

Unlike previous presidents, he does not receive written briefings. Instead, intelligence analysts explained their results at meetings and asked to meet each other.

When it comes to Russians, the president pays attention. At a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in 2018, Trump said he believed President Putin's claims that Moscow was not focused on the 2016 US election, contrary to the findings of US intelligence agencies.

The controversy over the Russian war is another sign that Trump has a close relationship with Putin. It is a pleasure for the Russians. It is very embarrassing for many in America.

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