Outrage greeted an explosive New York Times story that says US intelligence officials believe a Russian military intelligence unit offered rewards to Taliban-linked militants for killing foreign soldiers in Afghanistan, including attacks on Americans.
The story, citing its sources when unidentified officials reported on the matter, said the United States had concluded the operation several months ago and offered rewards for successful attacks last year.
The Times wrote: “The intelligence finding was reported to Trump, and the White House National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March.” However, despite crafting numerous options in response, the White House has not taken any action.
When the news broke, it triggered a fierce response from top Democrats, especially those who have long pointed to what they say is Trump’s too close relationship with Russia’s autocratic leader Vladimir Putin.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, said: “Trump was approaching Putin and inviting him to the G7, all while his administration allegedly knew that Russia was trying to kill US troops in Afghanistan and derail peace talks with the Taliban.
Michael McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia and professor of political science at Stanford University, said: “I hope the American people are as outraged as I am at Trump’s complacency. After learning of these contracts Putin ordered to kill US soldiers, Trump invited Putin to the G7. “
John Weaver, a Republican political consultant who helped found the anti-Trump group Lincoln Project, also expressed outrage.