Trump was briefed on Russia's sinister plot to pay Taliban to kill US troops, claims official

The White House continued to defend Trump, saying the information was not verified even in the intelligence community

                            Trump was briefed on Russia's sinister plot to pay Taliban to kill US troops, claims official
(Getty Images)

It seems the shocking revelation about Russia paying the Taliban bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan is only snowballing with each passing day and creating a tough challenge for President Donald Trump.

After The New York Times came up with a bombshell report over the development last week and the president denied that he was ever briefed on it. But it has now been said that he was indeed briefed on it sometimes in the spring, CNN reported. According to it, a US official, who has the direct knowledge of the latest information, said the intelligence that assessed the Russian effort to pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers was included in one of the president’s daily briefings. The intelligence assessment, according to the source the CNN report cited, was backed by “several pieces of information” that were aligned to the viewpoint that Russian intelligence unit GRU took efforts to pay the bounties to eliminate American troops and that information was gathered through interrogation of Taliban detainees and electronic eavesdropping. The source said there was some other information that did not corroborate the view but yet said it was a “big deal”. 

US troops in Afghanistan (Getty Images)

The NYT also said on Monday, June 29, that the intelligence had been included in a written version of Trump’s daily briefings as early as in February. The president is not known to go through the daily brief regularly or fully and instead banks on oral briefings twice or thrice a week by the intelligence. The White House has insisted that he was not briefed about the Afghanistan development in the oral sessions either.

It has, however, been reported that the information on Afghanistan saw the National Security Council members holding a meeting in spring to discuss “possible response options” against Russia. When asked whether the information was included in Trump’s Daily Brief, the written document that includes the intelligence community’s urgent information, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that only Trump “was not personally briefed”.

“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP,” Trump said in a tweet on Sunday, June 28. 

'Dissent' within intelligence community: White House

The source, as per CNN, revealed that the White House is now claiming that the leak will ruin the opportunity to reach the real answer in what is being perceived as a major scandal. McEnany though tried to defend the administration saying there is a lack of consensus within the intelligence community about whether Moscow offered to pay the bounties. She said there is “dissent” within the intelligence community about the intelligence and the information hadn’t reached Trump’s desk since it was not verified. The source told CNN that intelligence of this nature posing risk to American troops should be believed to be true unless one knows otherwise. 

On Monday, the White House briefed a group of GOP House lawmakers while Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on John Ratcliffe, the director of the National Intelligence, and Gina Hospel, the chief of the CIA, to brief the Congress on the intelligence.