Did Trump know about Russian bounties?
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says President Donald Trump was never briefed on intelligence that Russia had put a bounty on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan because there wasn’t corroborating evidence.
But former intelligence officials say presidents are routinely informed about intelligence even when it’s not definitively confirmed. Intelligence that may be on shaky ground today may foreshadow tomorrow’s calamity.
Presidents receive national security information both orally and through a written document known as the President’s Daily Brief.
The PDB, as it is known, is a compilation of intelligence and national security assessments from government analysts.
It’s material the intelligence community thinks the president should know.
The document has been provided to presidents in some form since Harry Truman occupied the White House. Some presidents are said to have been voracious consumers of their briefings; Trump, by contrast, is known to demand only the sparest details.
White House officials have repeatedly insisted that the president hadn’t been briefed that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked fighters in Afghanistan to kill American troops, though officials have told The Associated Press and other news organizations that the information was included in the President’s Daily Brief.
The AP, citing officials familiar with the matter, also has reported that national security adviser Robert O’Brien had discussed the matter with Trump and that former national security adviser John Bolton told colleagues that he had done the same last year. O’Brien has denied that and Bolton has declined to comment.
O’Brien has said the CIA and Pentagon did pursue the lead and briefed international allies. But he said the intelligence wasn’t brought to Trump’s attention initially because it was unverified and there was no consensus among the intelligence community.
Former intelligence officials say it’s a matter Trump absolutely should have been briefed on earlier, whether corroborated or not.
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