President Donald Trump is claiming that American intelligence discounted reports that Russia offered a bounty for the killing of GIs in Afghanistan.
Showing signs of being rattled by reports first confirmed by the New York Times and Associated Press, Trump claimed he wasn’t briefed on the report because intelligence “did not find this info credible.”
“Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!” Trump tweeted late Sunday night.
Congressional lawmakers were expected to be briefed Monday on the intelligence report and the Trump administration’s failure to respond to it.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., called Monday for an urgent investigation into the report and Trump’s inaction.
“Congress must promptly investigate to put the details of this incident in the public record, figure out the full consequences ... and determine who must be held accountable,” Gillibrand said.
Even some Republicans are breaking with their usual lockstep support of Trump.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., a member of the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives, asked pointed questions over the weekend about Trump’s response to the intelligence report.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wrote it is “imperative” to get to the bottom of the controversy in a tweet sent after he returned from a Sunday round of golf with Trump.
Trump did not offer any evidence to support his claim that intelligence officials did not believe the report. He also did not offer proof that neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence knew of the allegations. Pence has refused to comment so far.
Contrary to Trump’s claims, intelligence sources told the New York Times that Trump was briefed on the report in March and it was deemed credible.
American intelligence even shared the report with their British counterparts because the Russian payments also applied to murders of U.K. soldiers who are also part of the coalition supporting the Afghan government.