- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee says he is “confident” President Trump was not aware of reports that Russia had offered bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Mr. Trump has maintained that he was not briefed on the matter, despite a recent New York Times report that said U.S. intelligence concluded months ago that Russian military intelligence agents had offered the bounties to militants linked to the Taliban.

The paper said Mr. Trump was briefed on the matter and that the National Security Council held a meeting about it in late March.

Following a “long” briefing at the White House Tuesday morning, Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and leader of the Senate panel, tweeted that he is “confident @RealDonaldTrump didn’t know about the report, and it’s clear our intelligence agencies aren’t in complete agreement on this.”

While the chairman did not dispute the reports that the bounties existed, he said “we also know, and we don’t need any special intelligence to tell us: Putin is a murderer and a thug. We know that and we’re doing something about it.”

On Monday, Mr. Inhofe vowed a “strong response” if the reports that Russian agents offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill U.S. soldiers are credible.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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