On Friday, President Trump said he thinks the allegations that Russia paid Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers are “another Russia hoax.” Trump said if the charges were true, they would have been brought to his attention.
- Mr. President, you told Axios in an interview earlier this week that you did not bring up the intelligence assessment with your con-- with Vladimir Putin that they had been placing bounties on our soldiers' heads. You said it was because no one had brought it to your attention, but it was in the Presidential Daily Briefing. Have you been reading that briefing every day?
DONALD TRUMP: I read it all the time. I see it all the time. It was never brought to my attention. I think it's another Russia hoax. They've been giving me the Russia hoax, Shifty Schiff and all these characters, from the day I got here. And we're working with Russia right now on a nonproliferation agreement, nuclear non-proliferation. And if we can get something like that, it'd be great. But it was never brought to my attention.
And because it didn't reach the level-- there were a lot of people, including Democrats, that said it never took place. If it did take place, it would have been brought to my attention. And I would take very strong action. There's been nobody tougher with Russia or China than I have, not even by a long shot. When you look at we've-- what we've done compared to the past administrations, it's not even a contest.
We've been very tough on Russia with the sanctions and so many other things, including letting people know that we're not so happy about what's going on with NATO and the oil, you know. But speaking of NATO, we've raised $130 billion a year from countries, from-- as you know, from our partners with NATO in 28 countries. We had seven that were paid up.
Now we have a very much bigger number. We're getting at $130 billion more. That's going to $400 billion. And that's money to really protect themselves for the most part against Russia. So nobody's done more against Russia, but it was never brought to my attention. And it perhaps wasn't brought because they didn't consider it to be real. And if it is brought to my attention, I'll do something about it.