Liz Cheney. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) tweeted on Sunday morning that the Trump administration must provide answers about media reports that U.S. intelligence found that a Russian military spy unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Why it matters: Cheney, the chair of the House Republican Conference, is the highest-ranking GOP figure in Congress to question the White House on the explosive reports of Russian bounties, which — if true — would mark a major escalation in U.S.-Russian relations.

What she's saying: "If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is true, the White House must explain: 1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the PDB? 2. Who did know and when? 3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?" Cheney tweeted.

The big picture: Trump claimed Sunday that neither he, Vice President Mike Pence nor chief of staff Mark Meadows was briefed on the alleged Russian bounties, though he incorrectly characterized the reports as "so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians."

  • The New York Times reported Friday that Trump was briefed on the finding in late March. The report was later confirmed by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and CNN.
  • The Times reported that despite knowing about the bounties, Trump floated expanding the upcoming G7 summit meeting in Washington, D.C., in September to include Russia, which was disinvited from the annual meeting after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Go deeper: Trump denies report he was briefed on alleged Russian bounties on U.S. troops

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Updated Oct 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump gives coronavirus update: "I'm starting to feel good"

A photo released by the White House of President Trump working in the Presidential Suite at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on Saturday, after testing positive for COVID-19. Photo: Joyce N. Boghosian/The White House

The White House released images Saturday night of President Trump working from the Walter Reed Medical Center, hours after a video message was posted from his Twitter account in which he said he's "starting to feel good."

Why it matters: There have been conflicting reports on the state of Trump's health since it was announced Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with the coronavirus. The timeline on when he fell ill is also unclear.

Oct 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

White House has no plans to mandate masks

Meadows speaks to reporters on Friday. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration has no plans to mandate that staff and visitors wear face masks on the grounds of the White House, even after President Trump, the First Lady and senior adviser Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus, officials said Friday.

Why it matters: Trump and his aides have been heavily criticized for refusing to wear masks and social distance, both publicly at large-scale events and in private. Many officials in Trump’s orbit have mocked others for adhering to these guidelines.

California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California will "independently review" all coronavirus vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration before allowing their distribution, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced at a news conference Monday.

Why it matters: The move that comes days after NAID director Anthony Fauci said he had "strong confidence" in FDA-approved vaccines could cast further public doubt that the federal government could release a vaccine based on political motives, rather than safety and efficacy.