Pelosi: With Trump, "All Roads Lead To Putin" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Pelosi: With Trump, "All Roads Lead To Putin"

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cited a New York Times report that the Russian government offered bribes to Afghan militants to kill U.S. soldiers during an interview Sunday on ABC's "This Week." She wondered why President Trump will not "confront" the Russians about this issue, suggesting again that Russia "has something" on Trump.

"I don't know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, financially, or whatever it is!"

"Well, how else would you explain his refusal to even -- to ignore again and again the intelligence that puts right at the Russian doorstep the involvement into our elections, for example? Now, he's saying this is fake news. Why would he say that?" she wondered.


Pelosi also said that she was unaware of the issue before it was reported publicly.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: I want to turn to that rather startling report in The New York Times that appeared yesterday, we're going to show it on the screen right now, that Russia secretly offered Afghan militants bounties to kill U.S. troops. It reports that "American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan, including targeting American troops. The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House National Security Council the problem at an interagency meeting in late March. Officials developed a menu of potential options along with an escalating series of sanctions, but the White House has yet to authorize any step."

Now the Director of National Intelligence put out a statement late last night denying that the president had been briefed. The president has said that as well. But not denying the intelligence.

You're a member of that so-called Gang of Eight that gets intelligence, were you aware of those reports?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: No. And we have called for a report to the congress on this.

This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed. Whether he is or not, his administration knows and our allies -- some of our allies who work with us in Afghanistan had been briefed and accept this report.

Just as I have said to the president with him all roads lead to Putin. He will not -- I don't know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, financially, or whatever it is, but he he wants to ignore, he wants to bring them back to the G8 despite the annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, despite what they yielded to him in Syria, despite his intervention into our election which is well documented by our intelligence community, and despite now possibly this allegation, which we should have been briefed on...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's what I want to ask you about. Do you believe that the president hasn't been briefed on this? And secondly, how would you explain The New York Times saying it was actually in the president's daily brief, perhaps he didn't read it. How would you explain if the president weren't briefed on this?

PELOSI: Because the president wants to ignore any allegation against Russia. As I've said to him in that meeting when I'm pointing at him in a blue suit, with you, Mr. President, all roads lead to Putin.

Putin -- Russia has never gotten over the humiliation they suffered in Afghanistan, and now they're taking it out on us, our troops. This is totally outrageous. You would think that the minute the president heard of it he would want to know more instead of denying that he knew anything.

Now, if in fact -- we'll find out he has briefed and it was in his daily brief -- but if it were not, what does that say about the concern that those who briefed the president have about not going anywhere near the Russia issue with this president?

This is appalling. This is beyond amid -- well, the list is a long one in terms of his ignoring of what Russia has done. You see what he was -- it is a gift to Russian to diminish our leadership in NATO, diminish our troops in Germany, all the gifts to Putin.

Something is very wrong here. But this must have an answer.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've raised that several times now. You said you don't know what the Russians have on --

PELOSI: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- on President Trump.

But do you believe they have something on him?

PELOSI: Well, how would you -- else would you explain his refusal to even -- to ignore again and again the intelligence that puts right at the Russian doorstep the involvement into our elections, for example? Now, he's saying this is fake news. Why would he say that?

Why wouldn't he say, let's look into it and sees what this? Giving the money to Taliban, a bounty on the lives of our troops in Afghanistan. How do you answer to the families of those who -- family members who are serving there?

And he's engaged in peace negotiations with the Taliban and he's kissing up to Putin in every way, saying they should be in the G-7, even though he annexed Crimea and caused death and destruction in Ukraine -- so totally irresponsible. Something is wrong with this picture.

But putting that aside for the moment, let's just dwell on this. We hear also that the administration is considering diplomatic response to this or sanctions to this -- well, they either know about it or they don't know about it. The American people need to know what that is.
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