White House says Congress will be briefed on reports of Russian bounties

Trump administration officials will brief members of Congress about intelligence regarding Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the White House confirmed on Monday.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends”  that a briefing would take place on Monday. She did not offer details regarding who would conduct the briefing and which members of Congress would attend.

“There will be a briefing today,” McEnany said. “I think it will clear up a lot of the false reporting from The New York Times. The president has made clear that he’s never been briefed.”

McEnany did not comment on the substance of the intelligence but suggested that it had not been deemed “verifiable and credible” in denying that President Trump had been briefed on the information.

“Intelligence, we don’t comment on it routinely but just so you know how it works, it is vetted for its veracity and it only goes to the president and the high-level officials when it is deemed as verifiable and credible,” McEnany later added.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have pressed the White House for information after the Times reported late last week that the U.S. intelligence community concluded months ago that a Russian intelligence unit secretly offered payments to Taliban-linked militants for successful attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Shortly following McEnany’s remarks, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) requested an all-House briefing on the matter.

“The questions that arise are: was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel.

“Congress and the country need answers now. I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately,” she added. “Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable.”

The Times reported Trump had been briefed on the intelligence in late March but that the White House had not authorized any response measures.

Both the White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) have since denied that Trump or Vice President Pence was briefed on the intelligence.

Trump claimed in a tweet late Sunday that he was not briefed because the intelligence community did not find the information “credible.”

The ODNI and CIA did not return requests for comment on the president’s claim.

Updated at 10:06 a.m.

Tags Afghanistan Bounties on US troops Donald Trump Gina Haspel John Ratcliffe Liz Cheney Mike Pence Nancy Pelosi Russia
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