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

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOklahoma man who videotaped himself with his feet on desk in Pelosi's office during Capitol riot released on bond House formally sends impeachment to Senate, putting Trump on trial for Capitol riot With another caravan heading North, a closer look at our asylum law MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell: Power-sharing deal can proceed after Manchin, Sinema back filibuster Justice watchdog to probe whether officials sought to interfere with election Capitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? 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 RatcliffeSenate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Biden intelligence chief pledges to keep politics out of job House panels open review of Capitol riot MORE and CIA Director Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Biden announces veteran diplomat William Burns as nominee for CIA director Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community MORE, Pelosi said, "Congress and the country need answers now."

The Speaker also pointed to denials from President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency 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.