White House denies Trump knew about Russia-Taliban bounty scheme

The White House issued a flat denial Saturday of an explosive story that charged President Trump with knowledge that Russia had offered bounties to the Taliban for killing American service members in Afghanistan.

“The CIA Director, National Security Adviser and the Chief of Staff can all confirm that neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.

The statement did not confirm that the intelligence existed, in keeping with ordinary practice, she said, but was a comment on “the inaccuracy of The New York Times story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter.”

The report claimed that the president and the National Security Council were informed of the covert operations in March, but had taken no action in response.

Both the Taliban and Russia’s foreign ministry denied the allegation.

Joe Biden called the story “a horrifying revelation” in an online town hall Saturday, shortly before the White House  released its denial.

“By continuing his campaign of deference and debasing himself to Vladimir Putin, his entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” Biden said.

“I’m disgusted on behalf of those families, their commander in chief turning a blind eye to someone putting a bounty on their heads.”

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