Slotkin Says "Something Off" In Relationship Between Trump & Putin
June 29, 2020
By Jon King / firstname.lastname@example.org
Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin says reports that Russian intelligence operatives paid bounties to Taliban militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan further adds to speculation that there is “something off” about the relationship between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The 8th District Democrat, who sits on the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, said she was “at a loss” following Friday’s New York Times report that the White House knew that Russian operatives were paying bounties for Taliban attacks on U.S. and NATO soldiers. “As someone who worked at both the Bush and Obama White House, I can’t fathom how that intelligence wouldn’t make it to the President in short order, both because of the implications with the Russians, and with the Taliban who the President was negotiating with in real time.”
Slotkin added that, "Either the senior staff was truly incompetent, or worse: they purposely withheld the information for fear that it would disrupt the President’s relationships. If they thought the President would have done the right thing and defended the lives and honor of our American troops in Afghanistan, they would have told him immediately.”
The intelligence on bounties has also since been confirmed by The Associated Press. President Trump denies being briefed and says he was told Sunday night that the intelligence wasn't considered credible. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe tweeted on Saturday that he, "confirmed that neither the President nor the Vice President was ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting..." However, intelligence officials tell the AP that Trump was briefed on the matter earlier this year.
Slotkin said if staff met on the issue and drew up a menu of response options but failed to inform the President, that “seems to reflect an entrenched feeling that, at best the President needed plausible deniability, and at worst they assessed that President Trump would sacrifice U.S. troops for his relationship with Putin and the Taliban.” She concluded that Trump’s (quote) “constant yielding to the Russians is up there as the most confounding and strategically damaging to U.S. interests” and leaves her believing that “Something has been off about that relationship since the beginning, and Americans are quite literally paying in blood for his pandering to Putin."
A top House Republican, Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney, has called for the White House to share more information with Congress.