A top Republican lawmaker said Monday that The New York Times has "blood" on its hands, after the paper reported that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., who attended a meeting with top White House and intelligence officials earlier in the day, charged in a series of tweets that the Times had "used unconfirmed intel in an ONGOING investigation into targeted killing of American soldiers in order to smear the President."
The result was an odd situation in which eight Republican lawmakers attended a briefing at the White House on Monday about explosive allegations that the president himself was said to have not been fully read in on.
Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who were in the briefing Monday led by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, said in a statement that lawmakers were told “there is an ongoing review to determine the accuracy of these reports.”
The intelligence officials told the AP that Trump was briefed on the bounty matter earlier this year; Trump denied that, tweeting Sunday that neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed.