National media reports say Russia offered Taliban militants bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan. Missouri U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says he has received classified details and so far his impression is very different.

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R) speaks to Missourinet during an interview on March 25, 2020 (photo courtesy of Senator Hawley’s office)

“After hearing the briefing which went on for some time and was in fairly great detail, I have to say it doesn’t square very well with reporting by the (New York) Times or the (Washington) Post,” Hawley tells Missourinet. “Having said that, I think we just need to send a very clear signal hear to the Russians that if they so much as think about putting bounties on the heads of American soldiers, there will be punishment, there will be punishment enforced upon them.”

As far as punishment goes, Hawley did not have specifics.

“I think we need to make it very clear that we will defend our soldiers and we’re not going to allow them to be targeted by anybody,” says Hawley. “But I say again the details that I’ve been briefed on are pretty substantially different from what I’ve read in the press.”

He says lawmakers will continue to speak with intelligence officials at all levels of government to gather details.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Kansas City, tells the Kansas City Star the allegations are “profoundly disturbing”. He says reports that President Donald Trump had the information for over one year and did nothing should have every American outraged. Trump has denied sitting on the information for that long.

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