U.S. Warns Russia on Bounties While Trump Cries ‘Fake News’ squib

The U.S. State Department has issued warnings to Russia that there will be repercussions if Moscow pays bounties to the Taliban for successfully killing American soldiers, according to two senior American officials and another individual with knowledge of the matter.

The warnings were issued through the department’s diplomatic channels after public news reports in June that the U.S. had gathered intelligence about the Russian bounties, those officials said. One official described the communications as “serious.” Another said that Moscow responded by denying the reports it had set up or funded a bounty program to kill U.S. troops.

These secret warnings stand in contrast to what President Trump has said about the intelligence in question. In an interview earlier this week, Trump said he did not believe the bounties were worth raising in a recent conversation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. “That was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly that’s an issue that many people said was fake news,” Trump said in a recent interview.

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