Spies and Commandos Warned Months In the past of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops

In an announcement in response to questions, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the bulk chief, stated he had lengthy warned about Russia’s work to undermine American pursuits within the Center East and southwest Asia and famous that he wrote an amendment final yr rebuking Mr. Trump’s withdrawal of forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

“America must prioritize protection assets, keep a ample regional navy presence and proceed to impose severe penalties on those that threaten us and our allies — like our strikes in Syria and Afghanistan towards ISIS, the Taliban and Russian mercenary forces that threatened our companions,” Mr. McConnell stated.

Aides for different prime Republicans both declined to remark or didn’t reply to requests for touch upon Sunday, together with Consultant Kevin McCarthy of California, the highest Home Republican; Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the appearing chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee; and Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, the chairman of the Senate Overseas Relations Committee.

Along with saying he was by no means “briefed or advised” concerning the intelligence report — a formulation that went past the White Home denial of any formal briefing — Mr. Trump also cast doubt on the evaluation’s credibility, which statements from his subordinates had not.

Particularly, he described the intelligence report as being about “so-called assaults on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians”; the report described bounties paid to Taliban militants by Russian navy intelligence officers, not direct assaults. Mr. Trump additionally recommended that the developments may very well be a “hoax” and questioned whether or not The Occasions’s sources — authorities officers who spoke on the situation of anonymity — existed.

Mr. Trump then pivoted to assault former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who criticized the president on Saturday for failing to punish Russia for providing bounties to the Taliban, in addition to Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, who’s the goal of unsubstantiated claims that he helped a Ukrainian vitality agency curry favor with the Obama administration when his father was vice chairman.

“No person’s been more durable on Russia than the Trump Administration,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “With Corrupt Joe Biden & Obama, Russia had a discipline day, taking up vital components of Ukraine — The place’s Hunter?”

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