DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Senator Sherrod Brown called for action against Russia after news of its plot to target U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan came to light in a New York Times article on June 26.
“Absolutely there should be a response,” Brown told WDTN.com on Thursday during a video call. “First of all, the president has to quit kowtowing like a small child to (Vladimir) Putin. Putin is a dictator, an authoritarian and he wishes us ill.”
Brown’s response came the same day President Donald Trump called the story a hoax. According to the New York Times, American intelligence officials concluded the Russians used laundered money to put bounties on U.S. troops during negotiations between the U.S. and Afghanistan to end the war. According to the New York Times, the bounties were paid for by a Russian intelligence unit linked to assassinations and covert operations in Europe in efforts to destabilize Western countries.
CNN reported Tuesday the White House was worried about Russian bounties on U.S. troops during early 2019.
Trump told Fox News on Thursday he was never briefed on he matter because the intelligence was in dispute.
“Intelligence people didn’t even, many of them didn’t believe it happened at all,” Trump said. “I think it’s a hoax.”
Brown blasted Trump’s approach with Putin since he ran for president in 2016, and after investigations revealed Russia was meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. He criticized Trump for being weak against the Russians given their actions in Afghanistan against U.S. troops.
“(Putin) meddled in American elections,” Brown said. “That’s settled now. He’s using organized crime and money laundering, we’ve found out, and we know it’s very likely he used this laundered money to pay people to kill Americans. And our president continues to kowtow to Putin.
“I don’t know what Putin has on Donald Trump. Our president has been so weak with Putin and we need a measured response back at him.”
Brown didn’t say what type of response the U.S. should give – militarily, diplomatically or through sanctions.