Reports that Russia paid a bounty to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are a "very serious issue," but whether President Donald Trump was briefed may not be the "scandal that the other side is playing," Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Wednesday. He was one of the Republicans briefed about the matter at the White House earlier this week.
"I actually read a more granular intelligence yesterday and, it's a real deep concern," the Illinois Republican commented on Fox News' "America's Newsroom," but at this time, he said he's not sure the reports are at the point of being "actionable intelligence."
Kinzinger also said it's important to step away from accusations of "malfeasance" that are being made, particularly by Democrats, and to "get to the bottom of this and then respond if we find out it's true."
Kinzinger and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, have issued a joint statement saying that there are already people politicizing the issue and that it's important to keep in mind that someone decided to leak the intelligence.
"There is a political motive behind this, and the reality is, it is a very serious issue," said Kinzinger. "It is really going to lead to a much harder time pinning down whether or not this is true."
He added that he agrees with Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.Y., a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and member of the House Armed Services Committee, who said after Democrats were briefed Tuesday that the president must come out and "reassure the nation that he has our back" and that if the reports are verified, Russia must face repercussions.
"The president should reassure the nation," said Kinzinger. "Keep in mind he killed the guy that killed 600 Americans, [Qasem] Soleimani. My friends on the other side of the aisle said it was going to start World War III."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.