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Trump denies knowledge of Russia bounty plot

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday (June 28) denied any prior knowledge of a report on Russian efforts to pay Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

On Sunday the President tweeted that quote "Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians."

The tweet comes after U.S. intelligence found that a Russian military intelligence unit linked to assassination attempts in Europe offered rewards for successful attacks on American and coalition soldiers last year.

And Islamist militants were believed to have collected some of the bounty money.

The New York Times was first to report the news on Friday.

And on Sunday the Times published an additional report citing officials briefed on the matter.

It said U.S. intelligence and special operations forces in Afghanistan alerted superiors about the suspected Russian bounty plot as early as January.

Leading Democrats have held up the report and Trump's denial of it as further evidence of his accomodating attitude towards Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Saturday Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden described Trump's presidency as a quote "gift to Putin..."

"He had had this information according to the Times, and yet he offered to host Putin, in the United States and sought to invite Russia to join the G7."

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told ABC News Sunday that quote "there is something very wrong here," adding that Trump has already supported Putin by diminishing U.S. leadership in NATO and inviting Russia back into the G8.

Pelosi said she was unaware of the assessment and has called for Congress to be briefed.

The White House and Director of National Intelligence denied the report on Saturday.

Russia's foreign ministry has also dismissed the report.