WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- GOP senators on Monday have pledged to determine the veracity of the intelligence report over alleged Russian bounties to Afghan forces on the killing of US troops in Afghanistan.
- They vowed to take the necessary steps on Russia if found guilty and to urge President Donald Trump to place punishments to Russia.
- GOP lawmakers were already briefed at the White House on Monday but were still pushed to undergo a classified briefing.
Republican Senators have vowed to investigate the intelligence report of alleged Russian bounties to Afghan militants for killing US service members in Afghanistan and take the necessary measures like issuing a retaliation order if proven.
On Monday, the committee chairs swore to urge the White House to give resolutions about the issue. President Donald Trump was pressured by GOP senators to place punishments if the claims about Kremlin are legitimate.
The president mentioned that he was not aware of the issue, which made the Republican senators cynical about the situation.
Senator Ben Sasse said, “I want to understand how it’s conceivably possible that the president didn’t know. How does that possibly happen?”
“Number two, what is their plan to make sure that our enemies know that if you target American servicemen and women, the consequences are going to be draconian? And right now, I want to hear their plan for Taliban and GRU agents in body bags,” Sasse continued. GRU is the English acronym of Russia’s military intelligence agency.
While Republican senators have already laid down serious repercussions which include imposing new sanctions and designating Moscow as a state sponsor of terrorism, some lawmakers have called for order after White House officials aligned with Republican representatives earlier Monday. They explained that there was a current review of the alleged program even before they were publicized.
The senators, then, said that they would examine the documents concerning the issue in a secure facility this week.
“It is important to be cautious on intelligence writ large, because when it’s proven to not be accurate, it can lead to things like a war or other measures that proved to be counterproductive,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco Rubio told reporters.
Asked whether there was any progress on scheduling a briefing, Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jim Inhofe bluntly said: “No.”
GOP senators indicated on Monday that they would continue to press for a classified briefing.
“I think it’s incumbent on the administration to brief Congress, and they’re in the process of doing it,” Senator Lindsey Graham said.
Democrat lawmakers were also scheduled for a briefing on Tuesday morning.
Trump has dismissed the initial media reports, claiming that those are “fake news” and did not even say anything about Russia, which top Democrats pointed out as they pleaded for briefings across all Congressmen. By far, the Trump administration also avoided serious orders to address the terrorism issue.