Intelligence that there was an effort from a Russian military unit to pay bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. soldiers was included in Donald Trump’s daily briefings earlier this year, a new report claims.
As CNN reported, the information was presented to Trump in a briefing in the spring and was backed up by “several pieces of information” supporting the view that the Russian military intelligence unit was paying bounties to kill soldiers. The information included electronic spying and interrogations of captured members of the Taliban.
The report cited a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the information presented, who said that while the intelligence was not airtight, it contained enough information that Trump should have acted.
“This was a big deal,” the source told CNN.
“When it’s about US troops you go after it 100 percent, with everything you got.”
The report appears to contradict statements from the White House that Trump was not briefed on the intelligence, though there is some doubt about whether the information gathered and put together by intelligence officials actually reached him. As CNN noted, Trump is well-known for not regularly reading the President’s Daily Brief, which was reportedly scaled back considerably from what was given to his predecessors in order to account for his short attention span.
When asked on Monday whether Trump had seen the information, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany only said that Trump was “not personally briefed” — not answering whether it was included in writing form that he did not read.
Trump had tweeted on Sunday that the information was never reported either to him or Vice President Mike Pence, saying it was possible that the New York Times invented the information in its original story.
“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!” Trump wrote.
Despite Trump’s denials and insistence that the information was not found credible, the intelligence reports were taken seriously by others in the administration, with CNN reporting that the National Security Council reportedly holding a meeting in the spring to discuss “possibly response options” including potential sanctions. As The Inquisitr reported, military leaders were also trying with some desperation to get Trump to take the information seriously and respond, which he has not.
Trump has yet to condemn Russia or give any credence to the reports.