Trump administration narrows suspects in Russia bounties leak investigation: report

Top White House officials have reportedly narrowed the list of potential individuals who could have leaked information about Russian agents providing funds to Taliban-linked militants to target American troops in Afghanistan.

Politico Playbook reported Tuesday that fewer than 10 people remain on a list of suspects in the internal investigation, a sign that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE is serious about finding and possibly punishing whichever official was behind the leak to the media.

The White House has faced a bipartisan storm of criticism from lawmakers and other figures, with Democrats and the president battling over whether Trump was briefed on the bounties and some, including Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton labels Trump coronavirus executive actions a 'stunt' What Trump got wrong by pushing coal Trump is fighting the wrong war MORE, his 2016 opponent, accusing the president of ignoring his intelligence briefings entirely.


Congressional Republicans including Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseWhite House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Kudlow acknowledges executive orders may end up in court: 'We're going to go ahead with our actions anyways' Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders MORE (R-Neb.) have also joined in on the criticism, demanding a firm response from the president, who has argued that intelligence surrounding the bounties was not credible.

"I'm interested in hearing the administration speak clearly about their plans that aren't just hypothetical sanctions sometime out in the future, but what should we be doing now to make [Russian intelligence] have more doubts about their behavior not just in Afghanistan but more broadly," Sasse told The Hill this week.

“We shouldn’t be cozied up to Russia or giving them favors of any kind,” added his colleague, Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyFrom a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters Tennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans NRCC poll finds McBath ahead of Handel in Georgia MORE (R-Utah). “What we do know is Russia’s been helping the Taliban, the Taliban’s been killing Americans, and that’s all I need to know to know that we should be tough on Russia.”

“I certainly wouldn’t want to be inviting them to the G-7,” Romney continued, referring to the Group of Seven.

White House officials have engaged in numerous hunts for leakers throughout Trump's first term, though most have fizzled out without resulting in notable firings.