President Trump said in a new interview that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin never discussed bounties to kill U.S. soldiers that Russia allegedly offered to the Taliban.
“I have never discussed it with him, no,” Mr. Trump told “Axios on HBO” in an interview released on Wednesday.
Earlier in the week, Mr. Trump declined to specify what he and Mr. Putin discussed in a recent phone call.
He said in the interview that many people believe the bounty issue is “fake news” and that the intelligence on the matter never reached his desk.
“You know why? Because they didn’t think — intelligence — they didn’t think it was real,” he said. “They didn’t think it was worthy. If it reached my desk, I would have done something about it. It never reached my desk.”
Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, said earlier this month that the intelligence case was proven enough to worry him, but not necessarily proven enough “that I’d take it to a court of law.”
In response to the bounty reports, congressional Democrats are pushing legislation that would require the director of National Intelligence to brief Congress if the DNI determines with at least moderate confidence that a foreign government is purposely trying to kill U.S. service members.