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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a statement criticizing President Trump after the pair took part in a classified briefing on reports of Russian bounties paid on U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan.

What they're saying: "Our Armed Forces would be better served if President Trump spent more time reading his daily briefing and less time planning military parades and defending relics of the Confederacy," the pair wrote.

  • “Force protection is a primary purpose of intelligence. It should have the same importance to the Commander-in-Chief. Any reports of threats on our troops must be pursued relentlessly." 
  • “These reports are coming to light in the context of the President being soft on Vladimir Putin when it comes to NATO, the G7, Crimea, Ukraine and the ongoing undermining of the integrity of our elections."

Context: 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 February in the written President's Daily Brief in February, which Trump has been reported to seldom read.
  • National security adviser Robert O'Brien said Wednesday that a career CIA officer made the right decision not to verbally brief Trump on the reports, though he noted that the Pentagon was informed and took "protective measures" to look after U.S. soldiers.

Go deeper

Harris, Pence clash over Trump's comments about military service members

Sen. Kamala Harris tore into President Trump at the vice presidential debate on Wednesday over his public comments and alleged private comments disparaging military service members.

Why it matters: Last month's report in The Atlantic alleging that Trump called service members "suckers and losers" sparked massive backlash. The president has vigorously denied all aspects of the report.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Assassination in Iran sets stage for tense final 50 days of Trump

The funeral ceremony in Tehran. Photo: Iranian Defense Ministry via Getty

Iranian leaders are weighing their response to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, known as the father of Iran’s military nuclear program, who was given a state funeral Monday in Tehran.

The big picture: Iran has accused Israel of carrying out Friday’s attack, but senior leaders have suggested that they’ll choose patience over an immediate escalation that could play into the hands of the Israelis and the outgoing Trump administration.

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