July 2 (UPI) -- Democrats said President Donald Trump should have taken action regarding intelligence suggesting Russia offered bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops after they were briefed on the matter Thursday.
CIA Director Gina Haspel led a group of intelligence officials in a briefing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer along with the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees -- the so-called Gang of Eight.
Pelosi, D-Calif., said that Trump "should have been verbally briefed" on the intelligence.
"I thought that before the hearing and it has nothing to do with anything that we were presented at the hearing," she said. "Of course, the president should have been briefed. This is of the highest priority. Force protection, a threat to our men and women in uniform."
Pelosi also referenced news reports saying that the intelligence was included in Trump's presidential daily brief.
Pelosi and Schumer also issued a joint statement declaring that any threats against U.S. troops "must be pursued relentlessly" and criticized Trump for "being soft" on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"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," they wrote.
The New York Times first reported over the weekend that U.S. intelligence officials briefed Trump on their findings that Russia had offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces -- including targeting U.S. troops -- in Afghanistan.
Trump has denied that he and Vice President Mike Pence were briefed on the matter and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and national security adviser Robert O'Brien have both said the report was inaccurate and neither leader was made aware of the intelligence.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Mazie Horono, who were also briefed on the matter as members of the Senate armed services committee, on Thursday sent a letter to O'Brien, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe seeking information on their knowledge of and actions regarding the alleged bounties.
"If true and President Trump did nothing, it represents a shocking betrayal of a commander-in-chief: to keep deployed American troops safe from those who would try to kill them," the wrote. "President Trump appears to be knowingly echoing what appears to be false denials of the Russian government while its spy unit allegedly pays Taliban-linked militants to kill American soldiers."