President Donald Trump revealed he never raised with Vladimir Putin intelligence indicating Russia paid the Taliban to kill U.S. troops.
His comments came in a Tuesday interview on “Axios on HBO.” Axios posted a video excerpt of the interview.
“I have never discussed it with him,” said Trump, who spoke with the Russian leader on Thursday.
The president was pressed on why he did not bring up the issue.
“That was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly that’s an issue that many people said was fake news,” he said.
“We had a call talking about nuclear proliferation, which is a very big subject, where they would like to do something and so would I.”
The president and Putin have spoken at least eight times since intelligence about the alleged Russian bounties was reportedly included in Trump’s daily brief, Axios said.
Trump said the intelligence never reached his desk and said the issue never came up in any discussions with Putin.
The New York Times reported in late June that U.S. intelligence officials determined that Russia’s military intelligence agency has paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants who killed NATO troops in Afghanistan, including Americans.
The information was gathered earlier this year from interrogations of Afghan militants and criminals, the Times reported. Seventeen American soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan last year, the U.S. Department of Defense said.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.