President Donald Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone last week, and says he “never discussed” the alleged reports that Russia paid Taliban-linked militants to attack US troops in Afghanistan; plus, Seattle Mayor announces that federal troops will be leaving the city – Portland could be next.
Trump says “never discussed” allegations with Putin that Russian paid militants to attack US soldiers
In a clip released on Tuesday from an exclusive interview with “Axios on HBO,” President Donald Trump revealed that he held the phone call last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the phone call, Trump says, he “never discussed” the allegations that Russia had paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants for attacking United States military troops in Afghanistan.
According to a report by Axios, citing reports by the NY Times, the media outlet reported that President Trump has spoken to Mr. Putin at least eight times since intelligence information about the alleged Russian bounties were reportedly included in the President’s Daily Brief, beginning in late February.
Trump calls NY times reports of bounties fake
However, keep in mind, in the NY Times reports that bounties were offered by Russia and that the president was briefed on it, the NY Times quoted anonymous sources, as it often does, and Trump has repeatedly called the reports false.
On Tuesday, Trump reiterated that the reports were false, and told a reporter from Axios, that he did not bring up the issue of counties because “that was a phone call to discuss other things.”
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Trump was pressed to say who specifically called the US intelligence false, Politico reported.
“I think a lot of people,” Trump replied. “If you look at some of the wonderful folks from the Bush administration, some of them, not any friends of mine, were saying that it’s a fake issue, but a lot of people said it’s a fake issue.”
Trump discussed pandemic, global issues and arms race with Putin
According to a White House readout of the call, between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two leaders talk about “efforts to defeat the coronavirus pandemic while continuing to reopen global economies,” and “critical bilateral and global issues,” as well as President Trump reiterating his desire to avoid “an expensive three-way arms race between China, Russia, and the United States.”
The president added that he “looked forward to progress on upcoming arms control negotiations in Vienna,” the White House said, Politico reported.
Federal troops will be leaving Seattle, Mayor says
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced in a tweet on Tuesday that she had been notified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it will be withdrawing federal forces from the city. In the tweet, Durkin said that deployment of federal forces had increased violent protests in Seattle and other cities.
Mayor Durkin tweeted: “@DHSgov notified me that federal forces deployed to Seattle have demobilized & left. The President’s actions to target Democratic cities with federal forces is chilling and increased violence in Portland, Seattle & other cities – exactly what the President intended.”
In a second tweet, Durkin wrote: “Policing decisions in Seattle should be made by Chief @CarmenBest – not @realDonaldTrump. It’s why federal law enforcement officials as well as Democratic and Republican former heads of @DHSgov are raising alarm bells.”
Talks underway to remove troops from Portland, report
Reportedly, talks are underway between the Department of Homeland Security and the Oregon governor’s office to remove federal troops from Portland, according to the Associated Press. The Hill reported that the talks have just initiated and no agreement is in place as yet.