If Russia has been paying the Taliban for killing American troops in Afghanistan, as U.S. intelligence sources say, the President of the United States should be expected to push for more evidence on the matter — and at least threaten some sort of retribution against Moscow.
But almost two weeks after the story broke, that’s not what’s happening.
Instead, the Trump administration has launched an internal investigation aimed at finding whoever leaked the information to the New York Times.
Let’s say that again: Trump doesn’t care what Russia has allegedly been doing; he wants to find and punish the leaker or leakers who exposed what Russia’s been doing.
And according to Politico, the investigators are getting close.
“The administration has interviewed people with access to the intelligence, and believes it has narrowed down the universe of suspects to fewer than 10 people,” the political website reports.
But wait a minute. Didn’t Trump claim the whole thing is a hoax?
“Right off the bat, it’s worth emphasizing by Donald Trump’s reasoning, there are no leakers to uncover,” says MSNBC, “because, as the president put it last week, the entire story was “made up” by journalists as part of an elaborate conspiracy to ‘damage’ his re-election campaign and his party. The ‘secret source’ behind the reporting, Trump added, ‘probably does not even exist, just like the story itself.’”
Yet, as the Daily Beast reported last week, Trump “has privately expressed — ‘rather loudly,’ in the words of one of [its] sources — his desire for a leak investigation … and his wish for the leaker or leakers to face a heavy prison sentence.”
MSNBC sums it up this way: “confronted with allegations that Moscow put bounties on the heads of American troops, the White House is eager, not to punish Russia, but to punish U.S. officials who helped expose the controversy.”