The Washington Post gave former President Donald Trump “four Pinnochios” last July for dismissing allegations of Russia offering bounties to kill U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan as “fake news.”
Fact-checking Trump’s interview with reporter Jonathan Swann of Axios, the Washington Post wrote on Jul. 30 that Trump “has been dismissive of U.S. intelligence reports that Russia offered bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.”
Fact-checker Salvador Rizzo gave Trump a rating of four Pinnochios for rejecting the charges as “fake news” and a “hoax,” and accused him of trying to “put the cat back in the bag.”
Trump clarified to Axios why he didn’t bring up the alleged bounties during his phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“No, that was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly, that’s an issue that many people said was fake news,” Trump said at the time, stressing that “intelligence” did not think the allegations were “real.”
New reports suggest Trump may have been correct.
Evidence fails to support claims that Russia paid the Taliban to kill American troops stationed in Afghanistan, according to the New York Times, which originally broke the story last summer.
Citing officials briefed on the matter, the publication reported on Thursday that the intelligence community is split on the validity of the charges.
One of the NYT reporters who originally broke the Russia bounty story (originally attributed to unnamed “intelligence officials”) say today that it was a CIA claim. So media outlets – again – repeated CIA stories with no questioning: congrats to all.https://t.co/4GbUXBCOpI
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 15, 2021
During the 2020 campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden repeatedly attacked Trump for failing to bring up the issue during his conversation with Putin. The Democrat mentioned the bounties in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination and reportedly discussed the matter in his first phone call with Putin. (RELATED: Psaki Offers No Apology For Biden’s Attacks On Trump Over Discredited Russian Bounty Report)
The Biden administration on Thursday imposed new sanctions against Moscow over alleged interference in the 2020 election, but stopped short of sanctioning Russian officials over the suspected bounties.
The sanctions, a senior administration official told the NYT, put “a burden on the Russian government to explain its actions, and take steps to address this disturbing pattern of behavior.”