Hoyer says he has the 'impression' Trump was not briefed on Russian bounties on U.S. troops

Hoyer attended a briefing at the White House on Tuesday about reports that Russians allegedly paid the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan

Last Updated:
June 30, 2020 - 3:23pm

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says he left a White House briefing on Tuesday with the "impression" that President Trump was not briefed on Russians putting bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

The Maryland Democrat was asked to clarify what he meant by saying "apparently" Trump wasn't briefed on the matter.

"I left the White House with the impression and the president has said he was not briefed, we'll leave it at that," Hoyer said. 

Hoyer added that lawmakers and the American public should know why a briefing did not take place about the Russians purportedly paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

"Why was the president not briefed if, in fact, he was not?" he said. 

The New York Times reported that the information was included in a written briefing in February.

Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he left the White House thinking it "makes no sense" for the president not to "call out" Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I don't understand what it is with the president's infatuation with Putin," he said. 

Hoyer called for the U.S. intelligence community to conduct a "full briefing" to give lawmakers their "assessment" of the "credibility of this information" about the Russian bounties. 

Hoyer said the lawmakers who attended the White House briefing on Tuesday haven't received any "new substantive information." 

"President Truman said the buck stops here. President Trump says I never saw the buck. This is a serious matter and we need to make sure the members of Congress and the American public understand whether or not our relationship with the Soviet Union, excuse me, with Russia is compromised by the relationship between the president and Mr. Putin," he said. "That is a danger to our country if that is the case and this matter needs to be gotten to the bottom of."

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