As President Trump disavows knowledge of a Russian scheme to pay mercenaries to kill American soldiers, new evidence is being reported tonight that says he was given a written briefing on the matter in February. The New York Times reports that two officials have confirmed the briefing.
“The investigation into the suspected Russian covert operation to incentivize such killings has focused in part on an April 2019 car bombing that killed three Marines as one such potential attack, according to multiple officials familiar with the matter.
“The new information emerged as the White House tried on Monday to play down the intelligence assessment that Russia sought to encourage and reward killings — including reiterating a claim that Mr. Trump was never briefed about the matter and portraying the conclusion as disputed and dubious.“
As the Times reports, Trump’s assertions clash with two intelligence officials, one who says the president was briefed in February, and the other who said it was February 27th.
John Ratcliffe, the recently confirmed director of national intelligence issued a statement Monday night that said leaks were a crime.
If Trump received the information in his daily intelligence briefing, there’s a chance he never read it. The Times writes:
“Mr. Trump is said to often neglect reading that document, preferring instead to receive an oral briefing summarizing highlights every few days. Even in those face-to-face meetings, he is particularly difficult to brief on national security matters. He often relies instead on conservative media and friends for information, current and former intelligence officials have said.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press is reporting the White House knew of the bounty plot more than a year earlier.