Senators will have access to intelligence on Russian bounties on US troops

Senators will have access to intelligence documents related to reporting that Russia’s military intelligence unit, the GRU, offered bounties to Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 

The broad access senators will have to classified documents that were previously reserved for members of the Senate Intelligence Committee reflects the intense concern building on Capitol Hill over a bombshell report published by The New York Times on Friday.

“I do understand that multiple documents ... are being made available to senators in a secure room. I just got that note as I was coming over here,” said Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools MORE (R-Alaska), who said she would “hope” that senators receive a briefing.


“I think it’s important to understand the facts behind it,” she said.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday morning called for Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeIn Russian bounty debate, once again this administration lacks intelligence Russian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Former Trump intelligence officials say they had trouble briefing him on Russia: report MORE and CIA Director Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelRussian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Top intelligence officials to brief Gang of Eight on Thursday MORE to brief all 100 senators on reports of Russia offering bounties on U.S. troops. 

“We need to know whether or not President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott MORE was told this information, and if so, when,” Schumer said. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Justices rule Manhattan prosecutor, but not Congress, can have Trump tax records Supreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress Pelosi on Baltimore's Columbus statue: 'If the community doesn't want the statue, the statue shouldn't be there' MORE (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Ratcliffe and Haspel on Monday asking them to brief all House members.

“The questions that arise are: was the president briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed,” she wrote.


The White House briefed House Republican lawmakers on the issue Monday and is expected to brief House Democrats on Tuesday morning.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad GOP Miami mayor does not commit to voting for Trump MORE (R-Fla.) told reporters Monday afternoon that he was not aware of any Senate briefings.

“We need to be very careful about how we discuss intelligence because if you’re not a regular consumer of it, as most people are not, you don't understand how it works. The notion of a smoking gun and intelligence are rare,” he told reporters.

Rubio warned against jumping to conclusions because intelligence sometimes represents a best guess instead of a rock-solid fact. 

"It is important to be cautious on intelligence writ large because when it's proven to not be accurate, it can lead to things like a war or other measures that proved to be counterproductive," he said.


Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Chamber of Commerce endorses Cornyn for reelection Trump administration narrows suspects in Russia bounties leak investigation: report MORE (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, indicated Monday that the topic is not new to members of his panel. 

"There are a lot of us in SSCI who have already spent time on this topic in the past," he said, using the acronym for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "The Congress and particularly the SSCI needs to do a lot more."

Sasse clarified that "I'm not confirming any facts."