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Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced an amendment on Wednesday that would require the Trump administration to impose asset freezing sanctions on President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials involved in alleged bounties to Taliban-linked militants.

Why it matters: It's the first legislative proposal related to the controversy over the alleged Russian bounty scheme, which President Trump and other top officials have sought to downplay as unverified intelligence.

  • Trump has denied that he was briefed on the matter before it was first reported by the New York Times last week. On Wednesday, he tweeted that the reports are a "Fake News Media Hoax started to slander me & the Republican Party."
  • A follow-up story from the Times reported that the intelligence was included in the written President's Daily Brief in February.

Details: Menendez's proposal to the annual defense bill would seek to ...

  • Impose asset freezing and visa banning sanctions on Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other officials involved in targeting U.S. or allied forces in Afghanistan.
  • Impose banking restrictions on entities across the Russian defense sector.
  • Expand sanctions against Russian oligarchs who are close to Putin.

What he's saying: “As more details continue to surface on this despicable Russian campaign, Donald Trump has proven once again that he is incapable of protecting our troops and our country." Menendez said in a statement.

  • "Congress must again step up and defend our people and institutions from Kremlin aggression. It would be unconscionable if the Senate let this moment pass. The NDAA should not move forward without consideration of this amendment.”

Go deeper

Oct 8, 2020 - World

Trump admin plans to reduce U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by 2021

An Afghan border forces soldier stands guard at a U.S. forces base, which has been handed over to Afghan border forces in Dih Bala district of Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan, inj July. Photo: Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua via Getty Images

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said Wednesday the U.S. would cut its number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by early 2021, per Reuters.

Details: "When President Trump took office, there were over 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan," O’Brien said at a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, event. "As of today there are under 5,000 and that will go to 2,500 by early next year."

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
17 mins ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox strike out on deal to go public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. has ended talks to sell a minority ownership stake to RedBall Acquisition, a SPAC formed by longtime baseball executive Billy Beane and investor Gerry Cardinale, Axios has learned from multiple sources. An alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible.

Why it matters: Red Sox fans won't be able to buy stock in the team any time soon.