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Former national security adviser Susan Rice says President Trump sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin following news that Russia allegedly offered bounties for those who targeted American soldiers in Afghanistan.

Rice said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday: "In everything [Trump's] done since, from dismissing the intelligence and standing up for Putin at Helsinki, to inviting him back into the G7 against the objections of our long-standing allies, to unilaterally withdrawing a third of our troops from Germany, all these steps benefit Putin."

  • "And now we learn that even when it comes to the blood of American service members, this president picks Putin over our troops."
  • "Why is President Trump at every turn, protecting and defending Vladimir Putin, and our arch adversary, Russia? It goes back to before he was president when he called on Russia to hack and steal his opponent’s emails."
  • "The message to Vladimir Putin is you can kill American servicemen and women with absolute impunity. This is an extraordinary revelation. The president of the United States has demonstrated absolutely callous disregard for the safety and security of American forces in a war zone and there's no explanation for this."

Between the lines: The New York Times reported a Russian military intelligence unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked groups in Afghanistan to target American troops as the U.S. was in the middle of peace talks with the official Afghanistan government and the Taliban.

  • Trump tweeted neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed about the matter, denied the story and said, "Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration."

Go deeper: Trump: Intelligence didn't find Russian bounties on U.S. troops claim credible

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