Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) attacked President Donald Trump on the last night of the Democratic National Convention for not publicly confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin for uncorroborated reports that Russia put bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
That’s the kind of leader our service members deserve: one who understands the risks they face and who would actually protect them by doing his job as commander-in-chief. Instead, they have a coward-in-chief who won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin, read his daily intelligence briefings, or even publicly admonish adversaries for reportedly putting bounties on our troops’ heads.
The New York Times reported in June that American intelligence officials “concluded” a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, citing anonymous officials.
However, the Pentagon issued an on-the-record statement that said, “To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports.”
The Department of Defense continues to evaluate intelligence that Russian GRU operatives were engaged in malign activity against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports. Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan — and around the world — most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats. [Emphasis added]
JUST IN: Statement from the Pentagon on the intelligence that Russian GRU operatives had offered bounties for US troops in Afghanistan:
“To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports.” pic.twitter.com/Q1rOjtgQXc
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) June 30, 2020
The White House has also said that the president was never briefed on the intelligence because it was not yet corroborated. On Thursday, Trump said he would act if the intelligence is confirmed.
“We would hit them so hard, your head would spin,” he said.
Trump has ordered strikes against Russia’s ally Syria after the Syrian President Bashar Assad directed chemical attacks against civilians, and expelled Russian officials from the U.S. in 2018, and has issued a number of sanctions against Russia.
Duckworth, a veteran and double amputee, delivered her attack during a portion of the final night of the convention whereby Democrats tried to appeal to military veterans and families and try to paint Trump as uncaring for the safety of U.S. troops — despite him drawing down U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq as well as boosting troop pay and defense spending.
The DNC ran afoul of the Pentagon on Tuesday after featuring two soldiers in uniform during the roll call for state delegates. Active duty soldiers are not allowed to participate in political activities in uniform. The DNC called it an “oversight.”