The Trump administration is struggling to survive one of its most damaging PR battles to date over the revelation that Trump failed to inform the American people that Russia has been offering cash bounties to the Taliban for the killing of American soldiers. Even worse than our commander-in-chief’s failure to speak out is his failure to take steps to stop the murderous bounties or to punish Vladimir Putin and his criminal thugs for imposing them.
So far, the White House has claimed that Trump was unaware of the bounties. Their truly unbelievable claim is that because the Russia intel wasn’t 100% verified it wasn’t deemed worthy of the president’s eyes. In reality, intelligence reports are rarely if ever verified beyond a shadow of doubt and something like this would have certainly been brought to the president.
According to The Associated Press, White House officials were aware of the classified bounty intelligence in 2019. Former National Security Advisor John Bolton has claimed that he informed the president of the report in March of that year. The White House is ridiculously insisting that Trump was never personally briefed on the Russian actions. They’re claiming blanket ignorance.
The suggestion that the intelligence agencies wouldn’t brief the president on an issue as serious as Russian operatives paying to have American soldiers killed is ludicrous at face value. It flies in the face of not only common sense but the word of a U.S. official who says the bounty intelligence was included in the President’s Daily Briefing this past spring. Former intelligence officials who spoke to CNN dismissed the president’s denial as “absurd,” “ridiculous,” and “inconceivable.”
While most of us have come to expect nothing but rank and consistent mendacity from this administration, this latest batch of obvious lies is so far beyond the pale as to be truly unforgivable. The president has many duties but his most crucial and sacrosanct is defending the American people. Instead, we have a leader who ignores the slaughter of our soldiers at the hands of a foreign power and then lies about even knowing about it. There is no forgiving something like this.
Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)—a woman who has always approached national security with the seriousness and close attention it deserves—addressed the Russian bounty intelligence and accused the White House of carrying out a “con.”
“Let me just say this: You got the con,” she said to reporters. “The White House put on a con, that if you don’t have 100% consensus on intelligence that it shouldn’t rise to a certain level. Well, we would practically be investigating nothing if you had to start off at 100%. So don’t buy into that and neither does the intelligence community.”
“It’s an investigation, it’s gathering intelligence, and they have enough intelligence to know where we have to go next with it. So I don’t know what the point of your question is that just because they didn’t have 100% consensus should this be not briefed? Should the President of the United States? When it involves the security and safety of our men and women in uniform? As we said in our statement, Chuck Schumer and I, he should spend more time reading the presidential daily brief than planning military parades and preserving the relics of the Confederacy,” she added.
In Pelosi’s remarks, we see a key fact distilled: for all of their ranting about how they “support the troops” the Republicans couldn’t care less for the safety of our military servicemen and women. The Democrats are the party of national security and they are the only ones that can be trusted to stand up to America’s enemies abroad.
PELOSI RE: the Russia bounty intel: "You got the con, the WH put on a con that if you don't have 100% consensus on intel that it shouldn't rise to a certain level. Well, we would practically be investigating nothing if you had to start off at 100%, so don't buy into that…"
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) July 2, 2020
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.