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Pelosi, Schumer request US intelligence leaders brief Congress on reports of Russian bounties

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election Overnight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerReestablishing American prosperity by investing in the 'Badger Belt' House Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Graham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs MORE (D-N.Y.) requested Monday that two top U.S. intelligence leaders brief the House and Senate on news reports that Russians offered bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan last year.

In a letter to Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeWisconsin GOP says hackers stole .3M Hillicon Valley: Big Tech hearing the most partisan yet | Rubio warns about foreign election interference | Trump campaign site briefly hacked Rubio warns that election interference may ramp up around Election Day MORE and CIA Director Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelTrump has list of top intelligence officials he'll fire if he wins reelection: report Former Trump campaign adviser named to senior role at CIA: report CIA letting less intelligence on Russia reach Trump: report MORE, Pelosi said, "Congress and the country need answers now."

The Speaker also pointed to denials from President TrumpDonald John TrumpStephen Miller: Trump to further crackdown on illegal immigration if he wins US records 97,000 new COVID-19 cases, shattering daily record Biden leads Trump by 8 points nationally: poll MORE that he was briefed about the intelligence months ago and noted that the U.S. has not taken any action to respond to the Kremlin aggression and escalation.

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"The Administration’s disturbing silence and inaction endanger the lives of our troops and our coalition partners," Pelosi said.

"The questions that arise are: was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed ... I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately," she wrote.

Later on Monday, Schumer issued a statement saying: “I am calling for the Directors of National Intelligence and the CIA to immediately brief all 100 Senators on reports that Russia placed bounties on US troops in Afghanistan. We need to know whether or not President Trump was told this information, and if so, when.”

During a television interview, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said a briefing would occur Monday, but she did not provide details regarding who would conduct the briefing and what members of Congress would attend.

“There will be a briefing today,” McEnany said on "Fox & Friends." “I think it will clear up a lot of the false reporting from The New York Times. The president has made clear that he’s never been briefed.”

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The New York Times, citing U.S. intelligence officials, first reported Friday that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly sought to offer rewards to Taliban-linked militants to incentivize them to hunt and kill coalition forces in Afghanistan as the Trump administration engaged in peace talks to end the nearly 20-year war.

Trump and other intelligence officials on the National Security Council then discussed the matter in a meeting in late March, where they weighed a series of potential responses; however, no formal steps have been made, the Times reported.

Trump, however, in a late-night tweet Sunday claimed that the U.S. intelligence community deemed the information not credible. 

His remarks went further than those of the White House.

McEnany on Saturday denied Trump or Vice President Pence received a briefing on the intelligence but the accuracy of the intelligence was not challenged or dismissed.

Multiple news outlets have since confirmed The New York Times's reporting about the bounties, with The Washington Post reporting on Sunday that intelligence reports suggested the bounties had resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members in Afghanistan.

Jordain Carney contributed. This report was updated at 12:16 p.m.