House minority leader Kevin McCarthy reacts to reports about Russian bounties

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that “the idea of leaking information” while “not even knowing whether it’s true or not” is “dangerous to all Americans who serve in our military.”

McCarthy made the comments following a New York Times report that Russia allegedly offered Taliban-linked militants bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

On Monday, eight Republican lawmakers attended a White House briefing about the explosive allegations— intelligence the White House insisted the president himself had not been fully read in on.

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., spoke on the Senate floor demanding that all senators receive an “immediate briefing” following the New York Times report. He also called for answers “as to the extent of President Trump’s knowledge” of the reported intelligence.

The White House on Monday insisted there is “no consensus” that the intelligence is accurate, which is why, it said, the issue was never flagged to President Trump or Vice President Pence, despite reports to the contrary.

“President Trump, you lose either way,” Schumer said on Monday. “If you weren’t briefed on this important report, how can you run an administration where something this important is not brought to your level? And if you were told about the report and did nothing, that’s even worse. Shame on you.”

“I think what’s worse is that Chuck Schumer is playing politics with American lives by saying what he’s saying,” McCarthy said.

“We all know that Russia is dangerous to America that’s why this administration, the Trump administration, changed from the Obama Administration of a resetting.

“What the president did was gave weapons to Ukraine. What President Trump did is also put sanctions on Russia,” he continued.

“President Trump is doing everything he can to protect our American troops, but the idea of leaking information, not even knowing whether it’s true or not, in the process, and playing it out in politics is dangerous to all Americans who serve in our military anywhere in the world.”


“Chuck Schumer is part of the ‘Gang of 8‘…  as I am myself and this is not the way we should handle the situation or classified information and play it out into politics,” McCarthy added.

A senior U.S. official told Fox News that the National Security Council recently met to come up with a “menu of responses” to Russian action in Afghanistan. However, the president was not briefed on the matter. Military sources also tell Fox News that Russia has been trying to harm U.S. interests in Afghanistan for some time, as has Iran and Pakistan.

Late Monday, a White House official said Trump has been briefed on the intelligence behind reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and said the briefing took place “after the New York Times reported on unverified intelligence.” The Times report was published Friday.

Russia has denied that the country issued bounties against American soldiers. TASS, the state news agency, reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry called the reports “information fakes.” A Taliban spokesman also denied any truth to the report.

Host Steve Doocy asked McCarthy if information in the report turns out to be true and “Russia did pay to have Americans killed, what are we going to do to Russia?”

“There be many options of what we could do to Russia,” McCarthy said in response. “The one thing you do have to find right now is find out if it is true.”

He went on to say, “Let’s get all of the information and let’s not play this out into the public.

“Let’s handle this in the manner in which we should, making sure we’re protecting our troops first and foremost that … whoever looks at American troops that they will have consequences for any actions that they go after,” McCarthy added.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson, Gillian Turner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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