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Leading House Democrat seeks full intelligence briefing on Russia bounty reports

FILE PHOTO: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) walks out from the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi office on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leading Democratic lawmaker Steny Hoyer called on President Donald Trump on Wednesday to make top U.S. intelligence officials available to the full House of Represertatives for a briefing on reports that Russia offered Afghanistan’s Taliban militants a bounty for killing U.S. troops.

“To have Russia or any other nation try to pay people to kill Americans is an extraordinarily serious matter. Unfortunately, it was not treated as such,” Hoyer told reporters. “I am calling on the president to direct (the leaders of top U.S. intelligence agencies) to make themselves available for a full briefing on this.”

He said a briefing for lawmakers on Tuesday was inadequate because it was given by White House staff, not intelligence experts.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Editing by Chizu Nomiyama