Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for suggesting that “the Russians have something on Donald Trump,” calling it “terribly irresponsible” and “just downright wrong.”
“Shame on her,” Chaffetz, a Fox News contributor, told “Outnumbered Overtime” on Monday.
Chaffetz made the comments one day after Pelosi said that she’s unclear as to what “the Russians have on” President Trump, but added that it must have swayed his administration not to take action after U.S. intelligence learned that Moscow spies offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill U.S. troops.
Pelosi said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that throughout Trump’s presidency he has ignored allegations against misdeeds committed by Russia, but that the new reports on bounties “is as bad as it gets.”
“This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed,” Pelosi said. “I don’t know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, financially or whatever it is, but he wants to ignore, he wants to bring them back to the G-8 despite the annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine.”
“If she has evidence, if she’s heard a briefing, if she’s done anything like that, then she needs to share that evidence, but to suggest that Donald Trump did something wrong in this case without seeing intelligence, it’s just pure politics,” Chaffetz said on Monday.
“It’s disgusting, it’s what’s fundamentally wrong with Washington, D.C.”
RUSSIAN SPY UNIT PAID TALIBAN TO ATTACK US TROOPS, US INTELLIGENCE SAYS
The New York Times first reported over the weekend that American intelligence officials have determined a Russian military unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces, including targeting American troops. The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post also reported on the Kremlin’s effort to orchestrate attacks on Western troops.
The Times reported that President Trump and the White House’s National Security Council were briefed on Russia’s bounty rewards in late March. They discussed an appropriate response, ranging from making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and economic sanctions, but the White House had not yet authorized a response.
“To hear Nancy Pelosi go on television and start to say that there is some nefarious tie between Donald Trump and the Russians, that is just playing into Russia’s hands,” Chaffetz said
“It is fundamentally wrong, it is politically disgusting and absolutely totally wrong.”
He went on to say that if there is “some intelligence there, but it has not been corroborated, then it sounds like the intelligence community probably did the right thing.”
Chaffetz said he thinks John Ratcliffe, who was sworn in last month as the director of national intelligence, “will have to answer those questions and should do so at the earliest possible time.”
The White House said Saturday that Trump was not briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence, but didn’t confirm or deny the underlying reporting that Russia was giving out rewards to attack U.S. soldiers.
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On Sunday, Trump added his own denial of being briefed, saying in a tweet that neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence or White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had been notified of the bounties, and questioned the veracity and sourcing of the New York Times’ article.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.