"I have long, long said that Russia is not our friend. And even so much so a couple of years ago, I said that I wouldn't trust Putin any further than I could throw him. My staff did an analysis and they determined I can't throw him. So we should all learn the lesson that you cannot trust Russia, you can't trust Putin. So I was at the White House earlier today with a number of my colleagues and we received a briefing from intelligence officials, including the DNI. And after that briefing, you know, the evidence that I have seen and have heard shows no corroboration between what was posted in the New York Times article. So that is very concerning. However, with that being said, we certainly want to make sure that our troops on the ground are adequately protected and making sure that they are safe. And that should always be a priority."
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader:
"I can't verify the current rumors that all of you are writing about. But would I be surprised if the Russians were doing something like this? Absolutely not. They are trying to create a problem for us everywhere. They particularly want us out of Syria and out of Afghanistan. So it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that they're going to try to create as many problems as they can for our continued presence in the Middle East or for that matter, anywhere else in the world, that they can stick their thumb in our eyes."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader:
"I don't have an observation about what may have happened in the past but listening to the people who have been briefed and it appears as if this is not a conclusion that's been reached to such a level that it might have even made it to the top."
Some Senate Republicans are questioning the media reports that Russia offered bounties for killing American troops in Afghanistan.
"Listening to the people who have been briefed and it appears as if this is not a conclusion that's been reached to such a level that it might have even made it to the top," Sen. Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst said she attended a briefing at the White House about allegations and left with the conclusion that there is "no corroboration."
The intelligence assessments were first reported by The New York Times, then confirmed to The Associated Press by American intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the matter.
Democrats are demanding answers and accusing President Donald Trump of bowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the risk of U.S. soldiers' lives.