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Oklahoma lawmakers seek information about reported Russian bounties on USA troops

Russian bounty offers to Taliban militants are believed to have led to the death of at least one USA soldier in Afghanistan, according to American intelligence, two newspapers reported, and Congress on Monday demanded more information about the reports.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday in a briefing with reporters that there is "no consensus within the intelligence community" on the Russian bounty claims, "and in effect there are dissenting opinions from some in the intelligence community with regards to the veracity of what's being reported".

The House Republican pair urged in their statement, which did not mention the president, to allow for the review to take place before "any retaliatory actions are taken".

"There are already those who are politicizing the issue". "If the intelligence review process verifies the reports, we strongly encourage the administration to take swift and serious action to hold the Putin regime accountable".

"If true that Russian Federation reprehensively targeted our service members, it will certainly require a swift, strong and appropriate response from the United States".

"Now it's impossible to finish this investigation", he said.

The assessment was first reported by The New York Times, then confirmed to The Associated Press by American intelligence officials and two others with knowledge of the matter. The report said Trump was briefed on the incident but did not act on it.

When McEnany was asked to address the issue on Monday, she attacked the New York Times on previous errors they had made in reporting.

Members of Congress in both parties called for additional information and consequences for Russian Federation and its president, Vladimir Putin, and eight Democrats were to be briefed on the matter Tuesday morning.

Three other USA service members were wounded in the attack, along with an Afghan contractor.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday called for an immediate briefing for the entire House of Representatives.

Trump has come under increasing pressure to explain mounting media reports saying he was informed that Russian military intelligence had offered and paid cash to Taliban-linked militants for United States soldiers' deaths - and did nothing in response.

However, aides to congressional and committee leaders said no briefing had yet been scheduled.

"These allegations are lies", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had never discussed the allegations.

"The president is briefed on verified intelligence", she said. "And again, I would just point you back to the absolutely irresponsible decision of The New York Times to falsely report that he was briefed on something that he, in fact, was not briefed on".

Trump on Sunday denied having been briefed on the matter, as the reporting renewed questions about his reluctance to confront Russian Federation over behavior that, if accurate, would represent a serious national security challenge.

The intelligence community has been investigating an April 2019 attack on an American convoy that killed three U.S. Marines after a auto rigged with explosives detonated near their armoured vehicles as they travelled back to Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan, officials told the AP.

"The questions that arise are: was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed?"

"I am calling for the Directors of National Intelligence and the CIA to immediately brief all 100 Senators on reports that Russian Federation placed bounties on US troops in Afghanistan", said Schumer, D-N.Y.

"I, therefore, request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately".



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