It took more than 24 hours and one round of golf for Donald Trump to respond to the New York Times story that says he knew of a scheme where Russia paid Taliban mercenaries to kill U.S. and British soldiers in Afghanistan.
First, his press secretary denied Trump or Vice President Pence were ever in the loop on the intelligence. Then, Trump predictably tweeted that it was “fake news.”
Mark Meadows wasn’t chief of staff back in March when the intelligence was first shared with the White House. The New York Times writes:
“But one American official had told The Times that the intelligence finding that the Russians had offered and paid bounties to Afghan militants and criminals had been briefed at the highest levels of the White House.
“Another said it was included in the President’s Daily Brief, a written document which draws from spywork to make analytic predictions about longstanding adversaries, unfolding plots and emerging crises around the world. The briefing document is given to the president to read and they serve as the basis for oral briefings to him several times a week.”
It has been reported on numerous occasions that Trump is not a frequent reader, or believer, of the intelligence brief he receives.
But as the Times notes, “American officials reached on Saturday said it strained credulity to think that White House national-security officials would be discussing such an important matter for months and even brief British officials about it and never provide the information to Mr. Trump.”
Joe Biden said Trump’s entire presidency has been a gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Not only has he failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin.”
It should be noted that the White House press office has not denied the substance of the reporting by the Times. And the report has been confirmed in the U.K.