Washington – President Trump revealed that during a recent phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he did not pick up the reportAbout a Russian military espionage unit that rewards Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in the US and Afghanistan.
“No, that was a phone call to discuss other things,” Mr. Trump told “Axios on HBO” in an interview on Tuesday, “I’ve never discussed it with him.”
The president said the Russian operation was “an issue that many said was fake news,” and pointed to “some amazing people in the Bush administration” doubting intelligence. Speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, Mr. Trump referred to former Secretary of State Colin Powell as one who suspected intelligence. Powell told MSNBC earlier this month “Our military commanders on the ground did not think it was a serious problem because newspapers were reporting and television was reporting.”
“Before we had an understanding of what really happened,” it spiraled out of control. “I’m not sure we fully understood that now.”
Mr. Trump and Putin spoke on the phone on July 23 and the president reported in “XBO on HBO” that they discussed nuclear proliferation. A readout of the call distributed by the White House stated that two world leaders talked about the coronavirus epidemic, as well as “important bilateral and global issues.” The White House said that Mr. Trump “reiterated his hope of avoiding a costly three-way arms race between China, Russia and the United States.”
The president’s admission came after he refused to discuss the Russian plan with Putin about calling on Monday. Mr. Trump told reporters during a visit to Fujifilm Diocynth Biotechnology in North Carolina that “we do not talk about what we discussed” but that the conversation with the president of Russia was “very productive.”
A press report on Russians offering cash payments to Taliban-linked troops to kill US troops in Afghanistan first surfaced in late June and answered questions from Capitol Hill about whether intelligence about efforts to Mr. Trump was.
But the Trump administration’s top national security and intelligence officials, including National Security Advisor Robert O. Bryan and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, said neither president nor vice president were given intelligence of the Russian reward as it verified by the intelligence community was not. . However, the information was included in Mr. Trump’s written intelligence briefing by the New York Times and the Associated Press.
Mr. Trump reiterated to Axios that intelligence “never reached my desk” because of questions about its veracity, and said that if it had been, “I would have done something about it.”
Asked if he read his briefing book, known as the President’s Daily Brief, the President said that he “reads a lot” and does an in-person intelligence briefing at least twice a week.