Politics Susan Rice slams Trump over Russian bounties: 'I don't buy this story that he was never briefed'
Trump is facing mounting pressure over how long he knew about Russian bounties on US troops. Here's what we know about when he was briefed.
Lawmakers are questioning when Trump was briefed on intelligence about Russian bounties on US troops, and what he did with the information. "If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is true, the White House must explain: 1: Why weren't the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the [President's Daily Brief]? 2. Who did know and when? 3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold [Russian President Vladimir] Putin accountable?" Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, tweeted Sunday.
Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice blasted’s claims that he was never briefed about reports that Russian intelligence operatives offer bounties to Taliban-linked militants in Afghanistan for the killing of U.S. troops.
Rice, who is believed to be on the shortlist as a possible running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, expressed incredulity that Trump said he was never brief on the Russian bounties and criticized the president for allegedly not reading the daily intelligence briefings he is given.
“I don't buy this story that he was never briefed,” Rice said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “I believe that over a year ago, when the information first came to light in 2019, that my successor, John Bolton, would have walked straight into the Oval Office, as I would have, and informed the president of this intelligence.”
Former national security adviser says the Russia bounty plot shows Trump is 'surrounded by sycophants and weaklings who aren't doing their jobs'
"We have a president who is doing our arch-adversary's bidding And he is surrounded by sycophants and weaklings," Susan Rice said.The former Obama administration adviser rejected the White House's assertion that President Donald Trump was never briefed on the intelligence suggesting Russia was paying bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill US troops in Afghanistan.
Rice added: “We have credible information that suggests that the Russians and maybe Putin himself are trying to kill American service members, and the president calls it a hoax."
Trump has been under increasing pressure to provide answers about the U.S. response to Russia or the lack of one. But the president has continued to downplay the intelligence, calling it a “hoax” and “fake news” designed to damage him and the Republican Party.
The White House has insisted that Trump wasn’t briefed on the assessments because they hadn’t been verified, even though it's rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to senior government decision-makers.
Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops
United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter. The crucial information that led the spies and commandos to focus on the bounties included the recovery of a large amount of American cash from a raid on a Taliban outpost that prompted suspicions. Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019, another official has said.
News that Moscow allegedly offered bounties to Afghan militants who killed U.S. soldiers was first reported last weekend in the New York Times.
The Washington Post further reported that the Russian bounties are "believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members." Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that officials said an April 2019 attack on an American convoy that killed three Marines in Afghanistan is under investigation.
On the topic of her potentially being Biden’s running mate, Rice said she didn’t want to speculate and that, at the moment, her focus was on getting the former vice president elected in November.
“Whether I'm his running mate or I'm a door knocker, I don't mind. I just want to get Joe Biden elected and see the Democrats control the Senate and retain the House,” Rice said. “Because, Andrea, we are at a moment where our democracy is at stake, where our leadership role in the world is at stake, where the lives of tens of thousands of Americans are on the line, lost to incompetence and callous leadership that could care less. We’ve got to change that.”
Congress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestorm
Congress appears poised to do little, if anything, to pass legislation responding to intelligence indicating Russia had offered bounties for the killing of U.S. troops.Democrats are continuing to press Trump administration officials for answers since news first broke that the U.S. intelligence community concluded months ago that a unit in Russia's military intelligence agency offered payments to Taliban-linked militants to incentivize the killing of U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan.
Video: Trump not verbally briefed on Russia bounty matter: WH (Reuters)
Senate Republicans defend Trump's response on Russian bounties .
Senate Republicans are defending President Trump's handling of intelligence claiming that Russia's military intelligence units offered bounties to Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops, arguing the evidence of bounties has not received sufficient verification.Trump has come under sharp criticism since Saturday for not issuing a forceful response to the allegations or vowing to get to the bottom of the claims. Instead, the president has waved off media reports as "fake news" and suggested the story is meant to make Republicans "look bad.