18:01 GMT04 December 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump’s denial of media reports that he was briefed by intelligence officials of an alleged conspiracy between Russia and the Taliban over the killing of US troops in Afghanistan is "remarkable," Former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Sunday.

    "It is pretty remarkable the president’s going out of his way to say he hasn’t heard anything about it. One asks, why would he do something like that?" Bolton said during an appearance on the NBC News broadcaster.

    In a separate appearance on the CNN broadcaster on Sunday, Bolton said that Trump’s reaction showed that he did not prioritise the security of US troops.

    "The fact that the president feels compelled to tweet about the news story here shows that what his fundamental focus is, is not the security of our forces, but whether he looks like he wasn't paying attention. So he's saying well nobody told me, therefore you can't blame me", Bolton said.

    On Friday, the New York Times cited unnamed government sources who said that the president was presented with an intelligence report that alleged that Moscow may have offered bounties to the Taliban for the killing of US soldiers.

    Trump on Sunday denied ever being briefed on this matter, adding that Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were also not given information about the allegations. The president slammed the newspaper for spreading what he called fake news.

    The Russian Embassy in the United States has refuted the New York Times’ allegations and called on the Trump administration to take action after the diplomatic mission received threats in the aftermath of the story being published.

    The Taliban has also denied the newspaper’s accusations, adding that they were an attempt at obstructing the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

    Tags:
    Taliban, Afghanistan, US, Russia, Donald Trump, John Bolton
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