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Pompeo says US warned Russia about threats to Americans

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS to temporarily withdraw some embassy personnel in Baghdad: report Pompeo to host indoor holiday parties at State Department despite warning to employees to hold some missions virtually The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Pressure builds as UK approves COVID-19 vaccine MORE said Thursday that the State Department has warned Russian officials about all threats that Russia poses to Americans and U.S. interests in various parts of the world.

Pompeo was pressed during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about reports of Russia paying bounties to Taliban fighters to kill American troops in Afghanistan.

The secretary of State did not comment on whether he specifically raised the bounty allegations, but told the panel that threats from Russia against Americans in the middle east and elsewhere were discussed.

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“Yes, I can assure you that each time I have spoken to [Russian] Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov, I have raised all of the issues that put any Americans at risk,” Pompeo said in response to a question from the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezEmergency housing assistance for older adults needed now Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Democratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry MORE (N.J.).

“We have raised this at my level and not only at my level,” Pompeo added.

Pompeo has previously pushed back on reports of Russian bounties, which were first reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post, accusing journalists of spreading misinformation.

When the reports surfaced, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE and Vice President Pence were briefed on the intelligence but did not deny that the intelligence was accurate.

A White House spokeswoman this week emphasized that the reports "were based on unverified intel" but said "we still take it extremely seriously."

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"The safety of U.S. forces is the President’s top priority in Afghanistan," White House director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah tweeted, noting that the intelligence assessment was also shared with Capitol Hill.

"Our country has seen the very real consequences of overreacting to unverified intelligence in the past. @realDonaldTrump will not repeat these same mistakes," she added.

Pompeo’s Senate testimony came a day after Trump confirmed that he did not bring up the intelligence with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPutin says doctors and teachers will get first COVID-19 vaccines in new immunization campaign Scarborough says he'll never return to Republican Party after GOP supported Trump Will Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? MORE.

The secretary of State declined to say if he would recommend that Trump raise the matter with Putin.