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Trump was briefed on Russian bounties sooner than thought, stories say

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President Donald Trump and the White Home knew sooner than was beforehand reported about alleged Russian bounties provided to Afghan militants to kill American service members, based on new stories Monday night time. 

Trump acquired a written briefing in February about intelligence relating to the alleged bounties, The New York Times reported Monday night, citing two officers with data of the matter.

The Associated Press, citing officials with direct knowledge of the matter, also reported that the White Home was conscious of the matter a lot earlier, in early 2019. Then-national safety advisor John Bolton instructed colleagues that he briefed Trump on the matter in March 2019, the AP added.

Bolton has revealed a tell-all memoir about his time within the White Home. The narrative is stuffed with withering condemnations of the president and unflattering anecdotes about him. Trump has slammed the ebook as stuffed with lies, whereas the administration unsuccessfully sought to dam the ebook’s publication.

Trump and the White Home have denied that the president had been briefed on the intelligence evaluation relating to the Russian bounties. The White Home had additionally mentioned that the intelligence underpinning the declare was unverified.

Nationwide safety advisor Robert O’Brien, in a press release Monday night time, condemned the leaks and asserted that the president had not been briefed.

“As a result of the allegations in current press articles haven’t been verified or substantiated by the Intelligence Group, President Trump had not been briefed on the objects,” O’Brien mentioned. “However, the Administration, together with the Nationwide Safety Council employees, have been making ready ought to the scenario warrant motion.”

Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman mentioned in a press release to NBC Information, “The Division of Protection continues to judge intelligence that Russian GRU operatives had been engaged in malign exercise in opposition to United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan.”

“So far, DOD has no corroborating proof to validate the current allegations present in open-source stories,” he mentioned. “Regardless, we at all times take the security and safety of our forces in Afghanistan – and around the globe – most severely and due to this fact repeatedly undertake measures to stop hurt from potential threats.”

The Instances mentioned the investigation has homed in on a automotive bombing in April 2019 that killed three Marines. That assault occurred the month after Bolton reportedly briefed Trump in regards to the bounties. Bolton’s briefing for Trump did not have “actionable intelligence,” officers instructed the Related Press.

Felicia Arculeo, whose son Cpl. Robert Hendriks, 25, died within the assault, told CNBC earlier Monday that she wished an investigation into the claims that the victims had been focused by Taliban fighters who might have been provided bounties by Russian army intelligence brokers.

Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, and Employees Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, had been the opposite Marines killed within the assault, which got here days earlier than they had been as a result of return residence from Afghanistan.

The Instances on Friday first reported that U.S. intelligence businesses had assessed {that a} Russian intelligence unit final yr provided bounties to Islamist fighters in Afghanistan who killed U.S. troopers.

The Instances additionally reported that Trump had been briefed on the matter in March, however as of but had not selected whether or not or the best way to retaliate in opposition to Russia after being introduced with a menu of choices.

Nevertheless, Monday, The Instances reported that Trump had entry to the data earlier, in February. The newspaper reported that one of many officers it cited had mentioned it appeared within the president’s every day transient on Feb. 27.

White Home press secretary Kayleigh McEnany mentioned throughout a press briefing Monday that the president had not been briefed. Pressed on the matter by reporters, together with whether or not that utilized to the president’s every day briefing, she mentioned: “He was not personally briefed on the matter. That’s all I can share with you right now, is that each the CIA director, the nationwide safety advisor, and the chief of employees can all verify neither the president or the vp was briefed.” 

Read the full Times report here.

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