Staff members of House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff were told in February that some military officials believed Russia had paid Taliban militants to kill U.S. and NATO coalition troops in Afghanistan but the California Democrat took no action to alert anybody else, The Federalist reported Thursday.
Schiff has confirmed Donald Trump’s assertion that the president was not informed of the report but also has criticized Trump for not getting “to the bottom” of the claim.
The Federalist cited unidentified sources for its story, similar to the New York Times, which initially reported the claim on Friday quoting anonymous sources and which sparked a deluge of criticism of Trump from Democrats.
Schiff’s staff was informed during a congressional delegation, or CODEL, trip to Afghanistan in February, the Federalist said. When asked on Tuesday if he had any prior knowledge of the bounty claim prior to the New York Times’ report, Schiff said that he couldn’t “comment on specifics.”
A spokesman for Schiff, Patrick Boland, did not respond to The Federalist’s questions as to why the congressman did not alert other committee members or withheld the information.
The New York Times report mentioned that intelligence officials informed Trump of the bounty determination, a claim he has denied. It made no mention of Schiff or his staff being informed as well.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump on Thursday of being “soft” on Russian President Vladimir Putin and being distracted by less important issues.
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