- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 28, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unloaded Sunday on President Trump over his insistence that he had never heard of Russia offering Afghanistan bounties on U.S. soldiers, calling it “totally outrageous.”

Mr. Trump said Sunday that nobody briefed him or Vice President Mike Pence “so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russia, as reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News,” referring to the New York Times, which ran the story Friday.

Ms. Pelosi blasted his response, saying that he “wants to ignore any allegation against Russia.”

“This is totally outrageous,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.” “You would think that the minute the president heard of it he would want to know more, instead of denying that he knew anything.”

She said that she was unaware of any such intelligence on Russia bounties, but said that “we have called for a report to the Congress on this.”

“This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score,” said Ms. Pelosi.

She also said that Congress wants to know if the president ever received such intelligence in his daily briefing.

“If in fact, we’ll find out if he has been briefed, and if it was in his daily brief, but if it were not what does that say about the concern that those who brief the president have about not going anywhere near the Russia issue with this president?” she said. “This is appalling.”

Mr. Trump tweeted that, “Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration,” describing the Obama administration’s record as weak and bringing up Hunter Biden, who received a high-paid position on a Ukrainian gas company’s board while his father Joseph R. Biden was vice president.

“With Corrupt Joe Biden & Obama, Russia had a field day, taking over important parts of Ukraine — Where’s Hunter?” tweeted Mr. Trump. “Probably just another phony Times hit job, just like their failed Russia Hoax. Who is their ‘source’?”

Ms. Pelosi speculated again that Russia may have dirt on Mr. Trump.

“I don’t know what the Russians have on the president politically, personally, financially, whatever it is, but he wants to ignore” Russian wrongdoing,” said Ms. Pelosi.

She added: “How else would you explain his refusal to ignore again and again the intelligence that puts right at the Russian doorstep the involvement in our election, for example?”

ABC reported that “a military official” had confirmed that Russian intelligence officers had offered to pay militants to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and that senior U.S. officials were aware of it, although the source did not know whether Mr. Trump had been briefed.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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