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Congressman Jim Banks briefed on allegation: ‘Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says’

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WASHINGTON (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Several Republican lawmakers were briefed by White House officials on the allegation that Russian bounties were made to Afghan militants to kill U.S. troops.

On Friday, The New York Times reported a story with the headline "Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says."

The headline grabbed the attention of millions across the country, including politicians.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the President and Vice President were not briefed on this matter.

"The CIA Director, NSA - National Security Advisor - and Chief of Staff can all confirm that neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence," McEnany said.

Monday afternoon, Congressman Jim Banks shared the following tweets regarding the matter. He said he was briefed by Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and top intelligence officials on the allegation.

Fort Wayne's NBC News was made aware that Congressman Banks was one of several Republican lawmakers that was briefed on the allegation. We talked with Banks to learn more.

"It had a lot more to do with The New York Times design effort to damage President Trump," Banks said. "It's a political hit job. It's shameful."

A few days ago, the New York Times reported that intelligence told them "Russia secretly offered Afghanistan militants...

Posted by Louie Tran on Monday, June 29, 2020

Congressman Banks also said "The New York Times used unconfirmed intelligence in an ongoing investigation."

He also mentioned no president in his lifetime "has been tougher on Russia than President Trump."

"This president has been tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush, than Clinton," said Banks.

According to The New York Times' report, 20 Americans were killed in combat last year in Afghanistan. The report said it's "not clear which killings were under suspicion."

Fort Wayne's NBC News also talked with Senator Todd Young about the allegations to get his thoughts.

"If these reports are confirmed, this deserves a strong and immediate response from our government," Young said.

Young also shared a letter he addressed to the President regarding the allegation with Fort Wayne's NBC News. Please see below:

Late Monday evening, California Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted Banks "Why does the story keep changing?"

Banks responded.

Stay with Fort Wayne's NBC News on this developing story.

Louie Tran

Louie Tran is the weekend anchor for Fort Wayne’s NBC at 6 and 11pm and a weekday general assignment reporter. To share story ideas, please email him at ltran@wpta21.com.

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