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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Sep 17, 2020 - World

McMaster says Trump's Afghanistan policy has left U.S. less safe

H.R. McMaster in the Oval Office in March 2018. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Trump administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan and partnership with the Taliban has made the United States less safe, President Trump's former national security adviser H.R. McMaster told CBS News in a 60 Minutes interview set to air Sunday.

Why it matters: McMaster says the president partnered with the Taliban before peace talks in Doha, Qatar began this month, and diminished the sacrifice of American troops who died during the Afghanistan War.

Trump won't attend UN General Assembly in-person, White House says

Trump talks to reporters outside the White House on Sept. 17. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Thursday that President Trump will not attend the United Nations General Assembly in-person this year, per pool reports.

The big picture: The UN turns 75 this year, but the pandemic has muted the anniversary to virtual meetings. Trump has yet to submit a virtual speech for the New York City event, Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs reports.

Hundreds gather to pay tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg along Supreme Court steps

Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

At the Supreme Court steps Friday night hundreds of people gathered to pay tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — singing in a candlelight vigil, with some in tears.

Details: If there is a singular mood at the Supreme Court tonight, it’s some kind of a daze manifested by silence.