Donald Trump and other top White House officials were reportedly briefed about the Russian bounty scheme in 2019. If the reports are to be believed, it means there were senior members of the Trump administration, as well as the president, who knew about the issue more than a year longer than previously thought. U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the briefings told the James LaPorta of the Associated Press on Monday night that the information was included in at least one daily briefing for the president. Sources also claimed former National Security Adviser John Bolton told them he briefed President Trump on the issue in March of 2019.
LaPorta said Bolton was asked on Monday if he had indeed briefed the president over a year ago on the Russian bounties but he refused to comment. On Sunday, he did allude to Trump knowing about the situation and posited the president was angry it had gone public. He added Trump was feigning ignorance now that it was out there, so he could try and get away with doing nothing in response to Russia offering rewards to Taliban-linked fighters who killed American troops.
The Associated Press reported this weekend that there were, in fact, at least two presidential daily briefings that included information about the bounties. LaPorta said his sources told him current national security adviser Robert O’Brien discussed the matter with Trump. O’Brien denied the report on Monday and said that while the reports of what the Russians had been doing hadn’t been verified, the administration was preparing a response if they did prove to be true.
LaPorta said that if the reports of the administration being aware of the bounties much earlier than had previously been known, it raises the question as to why Trump hasn’t ordered an official response. The officials who confirmed the White House was briefed in 2019 said the administration didn’t consider the matter particularly urgent, because Russian meddling in Afghanistan isn’t particularly new.
Concerns about the scheme reportedly flared up earlier this year when a raid by SEAL Team Six found more than $500,000 at a Taliban outpost. While the White House contends Trump was not briefed about this development as well, it’s said the information was included in a daily briefing as well.
The Inquisitr previously reported that while the administration has claimed the president didn’t know anything about the Russian bounties, some officials noticed Trump was having an “unusual” amount of communications with Vladimir Putin shortly after the president was said to have been briefed earlier this year.