A truly disturbing story has arisen this week, and Congress is hopping to get to the bottom of the ordeal in the coming days.
Reports out of the Middle East state that the Russian government was paying bounties to Taliban forces in Afghanistan for every American solider they killed. Worse still, there is some confusion as to when this information became available to President Trump, and if any sort of sanctioning or punishment would be forthcoming for The Kremlin.
On Monday, the White House looked to clear up some of the confusion by briefing Republicans in Congress.
The White House briefed eight House Republicans on intelligence that Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants who targeted U.S. troops for assassination, according to Trump administration officials and congressional sources.
The Republicans attended the briefing, including Reps. Mac Thornberry and Michael McCaul, ranking members on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs panels, respectively.A mix of other Republicans from those committees — Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) — also attended. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), a member of the House Intelligence Committee and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who doesn’t sit on either panel but leads the House Freedom Caucus, were also present.
It was noted, however, that such briefings are usually a bipartisan affair. This was not.
The Democrats were not pleased with the decision.
The White House’s decision to bring in only Republican son Monday followed demands from Speaker NancyPelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for briefings for all members of Congress, pointing to those news reports and conflicting statements by President Donald Trump on the matter. That left Democrats decrying an effort to manipulate intelligence for Trump’s benefit.
“It’s hard to say the Trump Administration isn’t politicizing the military when only members of their party get invited to the briefing,” tweeted Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).
At a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that there was “no consensus” among intelligence officials as to the veracity of these claims, and that the President had not yet been briefed on the latest developments in the case.
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