Senate Republicans are calling for a tougher posture against Russia following reports that the country’s military spy unit offered to pay Taliban-linked militants to attack U.S. troops in Afghanistan — putting the GOP lawmakers once again potentially at odds with President Trump over how to combat Moscow’s aggression toward the United States.
Trump and the White House repeatedly denied Monday that the president had been briefed on the efforts against coalition forces in Afghanistan, which are believed to have led to the deaths of several U.S. service members. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump had not been told of the intelligence because it had not been verified and declined to say if the president had been briefed since news of the bounties became public.
But on Capitol Hill, Republican senators demanded more information from the administration and called for Russia to be punished if reports from the New York Times, The Washington Post and other media outlets were deemed accurate. The Republicans took a notably tougher public tone than Trump did, although they mostly avoided the question of whether the president should have been aware of the intelligence.