Senate Democrat: Russian bounties intel ‘the type of information that has to be seized by the president’
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Sunday criticized President Trump’s response to intelligence alleging Russian officials offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. service members, saying the president should have “seized” on those reports.
“If there’s credible evidence that Russia is trying to entice Afghanis to kill American servicemen, that is a serious issue,” Reed said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“The involvement of Russia in Afghanistan with the purpose of trying to kill… American soldiers is something that can’t be accepted,” he added. “That’s the type of information that has to be seized by the president.”
“He’s at the intersection of all the different roads of intelligence that comes together,” Reed added, noting that unlike members of Congress and intelligence officials, the president is in a position to speak directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“If this is an issue at all, even one you have to warn him away from not even thinking about,” Reed said, “that discussion might have been very useful.”
Guest host Mike Emanuel also asked Reed, a former Army Ranger, about a defense bill containing a provision that would rename military bases named after Confederate officers such as Fort Benning and Fort Bragg.
“I think we’ve finally come to grips with our history and we’ve come to grips with it in an appropriate way,” Reed said, noting that the provision had passed the GOP-controlled committee and is “coming to the floor of the Senate as a bipartisan initiative.”
Reed said the renaming “recognizes is these individuals abandoned their country… and fought against the United States of America,” and said that the in the modern military, which includes men and women and service members of all races, bases “cannot be named for someone who pledged his service to a system that is based on slavery—that has to be changed.”
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