- President Donald Trump will not say whether he has clashed with Russian President Vladimir Putin on reports that Russia is paying generously to Afghan militants for killing US troops.
- “We’re not talking about what we discussed, but we’ve had a lot of discussions,” Trump said Monday when asked if he was discussing the issue with Putin during a recent phone call.
- But Trump often offers the public details of various discussions he has had with world leaders, including his Russian counterpart.
- Last Thursday’s phone conversation was Trump’s first discussion with Putin since reports of an alleged Russian award conspiracy surfaced.
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President Donald Trump on Monday would not say whether he clashed with Russian President Vladimir Putin over reports that Russia was paying Taliban-linked Afghan fighters bonuses for killing American soldiers.
Trump and Putin spoke on the phone last Thursday for the first time since reports of an alleged Russian bonus conspiracy surfaced.
During a visit to North Carolina on Monday, the president was asked if he would report on Russia̵
“We’re not talking about what we discussed, but we’ve had a lot of discussions,” Trump said.
The president routinely offers the public details of various discussions he has had with world leaders, including Putin.
And in a statement calling for the call, White House spokesman Judd Deere said Thursday that the two world leaders “are discussing efforts to defeat the coronavirus pandemic as they continue to reopen global economies.”
AAaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 27, 2020
Trump dismissed reports of the alleged plot for Russian awards as “fake news,” although the White House said in early July that the president was “fully informed” so far. Earlier, the administration said that Trump was never informed about the information, although the recent reporting contradicts this statement and suggests that he may have been informed as early as March 2019.
The investigation of the American intelligence on the issue continues, which is at least partially focused on the bombings in which three American infantrymen were killed in April 2019, the New York Times reported in mid-July. The Times was the first to break the story of the alleged Russian plot.
The infantry killed in the bombings near Bagram Air Base, a major base in Afghanistan, were staff officers. Christopher Slutman of Delaware, Cpl. Robert Hendrix of New York and Sgt. Benjamin Hines of Pennsylvania.
The White House is not believed to have reacted against Russia, and Trump has not raised the issue in half a dozen telephone conversations with Putin since Feb. 27, when intelligence was said to have been included in the president’s daily written briefing. it is unclear to him on Monday whether Trump made the reports in a telephone conversation last week with the Russian leader.
Trump’s relationship with Putin has been under constant scrutiny during his tenure, as he is often seen as interfering with an avid Russian counterpart on a number of issues – including Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election. The alleged conspiracy for Russian wealth and Trump’s apparent lack of concern in the reports contribute to his already controversial and unusual ties to Russia’s authoritarian leader.