The NYTimes keeps the story going:
“American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, two officials familiar with the matter said.
“The investigation into the suspected Russian covert operation to incentivize such killings has focused in part on an April 2019 car bombing that killed three Marines as one such potential attack, according to multiple officials familiar with the matter.”
Then the AP takes a swing:
“Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.
“The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.
“The White House did not respond to questions about Trump or other officials’ awareness of Russia’s provocations in 2019. The White House has said Trump was not — and still has not been — briefed on the intelligence assessments because they have not been fully verified. However, it is rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to top officials.”
The story has legs. Lord Damp Nut of course KNEW NOTHING!!1!
A related story by Carl Bernstein on CNN:
From pandering to Putin to abusing allies and ignoring his own advisers, Trump’s phone calls alarm US officials“…The calls caused former top Trump deputies — including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials — to conclude that the President was often “delusional,” as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.
“These officials’ concerns about the calls, and particularly Trump’s deference to Putin, take on new resonance with reports the President may have learned in March that Russia had offered the Taliban bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan — and yet took no action. CNN’s sources said there were calls between Putin and Trump about Trump’s desire to end the American military presence in Afghanistan but they mentioned no discussion of the supposed Taliban bounties.”
I think we’re past the point of debating if the merits of the story are true. So what happens next?
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email thingie (strange emboldening and caps is all theirs):
THE WHITE HOUSE has a series of small gatherings to read more people into the events, as they see them. This morning, at 8 a.m., House Majority LeaderSTENY HOYER is bringing the following Democratic crew to the White House: House Foreign Affairs Chair ELIOT ENGEL (N.Y.), Intelligence Chair ADAM SCHIFF (Calif.), Armed Services Chair ADAM SMITH (Wash.) and Reps. GREG MEEKS (N.Y.), BRAD SHERMAN (Calif.), MIKIE SHERRILL (N.J.) ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (Va.), ELISSA SLOTKIN (Mich.), RUBEN GALLEGO (Ariz.) and BILL KEATING (Mass.). SENATE REPUBLICANSare also expected at the White House this morning for a briefing.
TO GIVE A SENSE of the political import of this issue, HOUSE DEMOCRATShave scheduled a 9:30 a.m. press briefing about their White House meeting. In other words, as soon as they get back to the Hill, they’re going to dish.
So more to come today.
Mom of Marine killed in Afghanistan wants investigation of claim Russians paid Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers
The mother of a Marine killed last year in Afghanistan said Monday that she wants a thorough investigation of reports that her son and two other Marines may have been the targets of Taliban-linked fighters who collected a bounty on U.S. soldiers offered by a Russian military intelligence unit.
Felicia Arculeo, whose son Cpl. Robert Hendriks died in the April 8, 2019, attack, also told CNBC “that the parties who are responsible should be held accountable, if that’s even possible.”
Arculeo, who lives in Long Island, N.Y., said she has not been contacted by U.S. intelligence or military officials since Friday.
That was the day that The New York Times broke the news that American intelligence agencies had assessed that a Russian intelligence unit last year offered bounties to Islamist fighters in Afghanistan who killed U.S. soldiers.
This is not a look that Prznint Stupid is gonna enjoy heading into his re-stealing the office.