Bret Baier, Liz Cheney Go At It Over Russian Bounty Story

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney defended her amplification of an anonymously sourced story claiming that Russia paid Taliban soldiers to kill Americans in Afghanistan.

“I think actually if you look at the details of the story, Bret, you will see that the intelligence community has made a recommendation about that intelligence. They talked about having low confidence. I think if you go back and look what I said every single thing I have said, I said if those stories are true, we need to know why the president and vice president were not briefed on them,” Cheney said during a Thursday appearance on Special Report with Bret Baier. Baier asked Cheney whether she regretted “taking part in spreading the story.”

“You pointed to President Trump,” Baier responded. “My point is, you were GOP conference chair. And I’m just articulating what some of your colleagues have said. They thought that that was a moment where they thought that your focus on the former president was more important to you than articulating the GOP agenda and what they wished to do.”

“I said, if these reports are true, then the White House must explain why they did not brief the President or Vice President,” Cheney responded. “So, you know, I remain concerned about the intelligence. I think you will see if you go back and look at the facts about what the intelligence community has said, they have not said those reports are not true. They have said that they’ve got low confidence. And I think it’s an important thing to be concerned about.”

Cheney tweeted on June 28 that if the Russia bounty story was true, “the White House must explain: 1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the PDB [Presidential Daily Brief]? 2. Who did know and when? 3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?

The New York Times first reported in June 2020 that a Russian military unit was paying Taliban troops to attack American soldiers in Afghanistan. It later adjusted the language in some of the key parts of the story, and then-President Donald Trump denied that he was briefed on the intelligence. The Biden administration said in April that it had only “low-to-moderate” confidence in the intelligence. (RELATED: Schiff And Swalwell Went All In On Dubious Russia Bounty Story)

Cheney was removed from her position as Republican House Conference Chairwoman by voice vote on Wednesday.