Trump says intel on Russia-Taliban ‘bounty to kill US soldiers wasn’t credible’ and calls report a ‘fake news hoax’ – The Sun

DONALD Trump has claimed intel on an alleged bounties offered by Russian spies to Taliban militants for the killing US soldiers "wasn't credible".

The President took to Twitter as he blasted the shocking allegations as a "fake news hoax".

Trump posted to his 82.5million followers that the US intelligence services have informed him the claims were "not credible".

Because of this, the information was never passed to him or vice president Mike Pence.

Unnamed intelligence officials were reported this week to have claimed Russian spies offered money to Taliban militants to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Unit 29155, an arm of the Kremlin's intelligence agency dubbed GRU, is said to be the brains behind the bounties, reported the New York Times.

The secretive military unit are also claimed to be connected to espionage incidents in Europe.

Trump was reportedly briefed on the claims in March but failed to act – however he furiously denies this.

In his latest tweet, the President said: "Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP.

"Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad."

Trump quote-tweeted a post from Republican senator Lindsey Graham.

He said: "Imperative Congress get to the bottom of recent media reports that Russian GRU units in Afghanistan have offered to pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers with the goal of pushing America out of the region."

Trump's double down on his denials comes after he insisted "nobody" briefed him about the alleged Russian plot.

In 2019, there were 20 American soldiers killed in combat in Afghanistan – but it hasn't been revealed which killings are being investigated.

Russia has also denied its involvement, describing the report as "baseless and anonymous" accusations.

In a series of posts on Twitter, the Russian embassy in the US also accused the newspaper of promoting "fake news".

Following the alleged revelations a diplomatic complaint and actions were reportedly suggested – but so far no action has been taken.

The incentivized killing of US soldiers would mark the first time a Russian spy unit has organized direct attacks on Western soldiers.

The accusations officials made against Moscow are reportedly based on interrogations of caputred criminals and Afghan militants.

It isn't known who was aware of the alleged covert operation in the Russian government or who authorized it.

GRU is also linked to the nerve agent poisoning in the UK of Sergei Skripal, a Russia defector, and his daughter in March 2018, along with other attacks.

Trump previously tweeted a series of denials claiming he had not been informed about the allegations – also demanding the paper reveal its source.

He said: "Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us.

"Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration."

In a statement on Saturday, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany also denied Trump's knowledge on the matter.

McEnany said "neither the president nor the vice president were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence".

Meanwhile, a a European intelligence official told CNN that Russian intelligence officers for GRU did recently offer Taliban members cash for killing US or UK troops in Afghanistan.

Following the Times' report, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden slammed Trump.

"His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale,” Biden said at a virtual town hall on Saturday.

“It’s betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way."

"It’s a betrayal of every single American family with a loved one serving in Afghanistan or anywhere overseas," he added.

Trump tweeted of Biden's remarks: "Funny to see Corrupt Joe Biden reading a statement on Russia, which was obviously written by his handlers.

"Russia ate his and Obama’s lunch during their time in office, so badly that Obama wanted them out of the then G-8. US was weak on everything, but especially Russia!"

Russia's Foreign Ministry has also dubbed the report "nonsense".

"This unsophisticated plant clearly illustrates the low intellectual abilities of the propagandists of American intelligence, who instead of inventing something more plausible have to make up this nonsense," the Russian Ministry said.

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