Duckworth Says Bounty Claims Show Trump Puts Putin 'Above Our Own People'

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a contender to run on Joe Biden's Democrat election ticket, says she is "frustrated" that there has not been an army investigation into claims Russia offered bounties for American troops in Afghanistan.

In June, it was reported U.S. intelligence had concluded a Russian unit had offered the Taliban payments of up to $100,000 for each U.S. or allied soldier killed.

The Illinois senator, who is the only vice-presidential contender to have military combat experience, was asked by ABC News whether she believed the allegations of bounties being offered.

"I believe it is very credible, yes, it is something that would be consistent with how our adversaries act," she told the Powerhouse Politics podcast.

Senator Tammy Duckworth
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Il) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 6, 2020. She is calling for a full investigation into claims Russia offered bounties to the Taliban for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Greg Nash/Getty Images

"However, I would like to see more information and I would like to see that investigation conducted, which they have not done."

"What I want is for the Department of the Army to conduct an investigation to see whether or not this truly happened, and to look at the deaths and injuries of Americans for the past two years in Afghanistan, to see if any of those instances were related to bounties," she added.

"The Department of the Army hasn't done that. It boggles the mind that you would not at least conduct an investigation."

President Donald Trump has dismissed allegations that he did not act on intelligence.

In an interview with Axios on HBO, Trump said he "never discussed" the matter in a phone call last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reasoning that it was "a phone call to discuss other things and frankly that's an issue that many people said was fake news."

National security adviser Robert O'Brien said Trump was not verbally briefed on the Russian bounty intelligence because the reports were inconclusive, although White House officials have not denied the information was included in his daily brief.

Trump told Axios on HBO the intelligence "never reached my desk," because "they didn't think it was real." The Kremlin and the Taliban deny the existence of any bounty scheme.

Duckworth has been tweeting a daily tally of the number of days Trump has gone without challenging Russia on the claims.

She told ABC: "I am very frustrated that they are not addressing this and that again President Trump is taking Vladimir Putin's word above those of his own intelligence and [Department of Defence] community."

"I just don't know why he continues to put our adversary above our own people and he has done it again here." Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

Duckworth, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq. She lost both her legs and use of her right arm when the Blackhawk helicopter she was piloting was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Duckworth Says Bounty Claims Show Trump Puts Putin 'Above Our Own People' | News