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White House lashes out at NYT’s allegations about ‘Russian bounties’ to Taliban

"And I really think that it’s time for the New York Times to step back and ask themselves why they’ve been wrong — so wrong, so often," the press secretary said

WASHINGTON, June 30. /TASS/. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany excoriated the recent allegations trotted out by the New York Times that Russia had offered bounties to members of the Taliban (outlawed in Russia) to kill US servicemen in Afghanistan.

Speaking at a daily press briefing on Monday, Press Secretary McEnany said that the New York Times had falsely reported that US intelligence services had allegedly briefed US President Donald Trump on the matter.

"I would just point you back to the absolutely irresponsible decision of the New York Times to falsely report that he [Trump] was briefed on something that he, in fact, was not briefed on," she said. "And I really think that it’s time for the New York Times to step back and ask themselves why they’ve been wrong — so wrong, so often."

The spokesperson referred to previous false reports by the New York Times, including the article in which "New York Times falsely claimed Paul Manafort asked for polling data to be passed along to Oleg Deripaska before having to issue a correction." After that, the paper "falsely wrote all 17 intel agencies had agreed on Russian interference, before having to issue a correction that it was only four agencies."

"That’s what we call the ‘Russia hoax,’ which was investigated for three years with taxpayer dollars before ultimately getting an exoneration in the Mueller report," she added. "It is inexcusable, the failed Russia reporting of the New York Times. And I think it’s time that the New York Times, and also the Washington Post, hand back their Pulitzers."

On June 26, British media outlets cited The New York Times to claim that an unidentified unit of the Russian military intelligence encouraged Taliban militants to attack military personnel of the international coalition in Afghanistan. The newspaper alleged that these conclusions of American intelligence services were presented for Trump’s judgment a few months ago, while the White House National Security Council discussed the topic in late March. In turn, Trump revealed that he had not been briefed about any such attacks in Afghanistan. On Sunday, he took to Twitter to announce that the US intelligence did not find this information credible, slamming The New York Times report as "possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News" meant to tarnish the Republicans’ reputation.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov blasted reports that Russia allegedly offered Afghan militants bounties for killing US military personnel as lies and an elaborate hoax. "These claims are nothing but lies," the Kremlin spokesman said, commenting on the publication of The New York Times. "Once again, we can only express regret that once largest, reputable and high-quality world media outlets have been increasingly more often publishing elaborate hoaxes in the last few years, which definitely does not bode well with keeping up with their reputation and prestige," Peskov stressed. "If intelligence services continue to be accountable before the president in the US, then I suggest you focus on the relevant statement of President Trump who already evaluated these publications," he added.