The President’s re-election prospects took a hit this weekend with a report that Russia has offered bounties to militants in Afghanistan for the death of US soldiers in that country. A close relationship with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has been one of the hallmarks, and central to several of the controversies, of this administration. Yet (to put the key challenge in crude terms): did the friendly relationship between Donald Trump and Putin do nothing to stop Putin from working for the death of Americans?
The presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, former Vice President Joe Biden, said during a campaign event Saturday that the bounties represent an “egregious violation of international law” and that it is shocking that President Trump has “failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia.”
The administration has denied that the President or Vice President “were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence.” It has not suggested that there should be sanctions if there were such bounties.
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Liz Cheney, a congresswoman from Wyoming and the daughter of a former Republican vice president says that the White House needs to explain, if the bounties did exist: “who did know and when?” This is typical of much reaction from within President Trump’s base.