The U.S. Secretary of State’s chat followed a report by The New York Times, which said that Russia was paying Taliban militants bounties to kill U.S. service members.
Donald Trump called the claims a ‘hoax’ and his administration has downplayed reports, saying U.S. agencies have not corroborated intelligence that Russia may have paid the Taliban to kill U.S. troops. Russia has denied the allegations.
Exact details of Pompeo’s call with Lavrov were not released but he also raised the issue of election security, the department said in a statement as the United States readies for nationwide voting on November 3.
‘The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party. The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited @nytimes has a source, reveal it. Just another HOAX!,’ Trump tweeted at the beginning of this month.
Officials in the administration have not disputed the existence of the intelligence report but have said it was not verified and that was why it was not presented to President Trump.
After being briefed by U.S. intelligence officials earlier this month, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Washington should impose sanctions on Russia’s intelligence and defense sectors.
U.S. officials have raised concerns that Russia could interfere in this year’s election after an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller disclosed a campaign of hacking and propaganda by Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.