The White House briefed Republican lawmakers on Monday on an intelligence evaluation that Russian operatives had offered a bounty for assaults on coalition forces in Afghanistan, a day after Donald Trump said his intelligence advisers “did not find this info credible”.
In an uncommon step, Democratic lawmakers weren’t included within the preliminary briefing, which was performed by the nationwide safety adviser, the director of nationwide intelligence and the White House chief of workers.
Later on Monday a brand new planwas revealed and Congressman Steny Hoyer, the No 2 Democrat within the House, mentioned quite a lot of main Democrats could be briefed on the White House on Tuesday at 8am.
Trump has publicly attacked the energy of the intelligence in regards to the alleged bounty program. An preliminary report on this system final week by the New York Times, which has since been broadly corroborated, raised the query of why the United States had not taken motion in response to the suspected concentrating on of US troopers.
Trump claimed on Sunday that he had by no means been briefed on the intelligence evaluation. Later that day he mentioned that intelligence officers advised him the menace was not “credible”.
But Trump was contradicted within the White House briefing room on Monday by the press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who mentioned that views in regards to the veracity of the intelligence had been blended throughout the intelligence group.
“There is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations, and in effect there are dissenting opinions from some in the intelligence community with regard to the veracity of what’s being reported, and the veracity of the underlying allegations continues to be evaluated,” McEnany mentioned.
Susan Hennessey, government editor of the Lawfare web site on the Brookings Institution, replied on Twitter: “This smells just like the White House attempting to mislead the general public.
“It is common for different intelligence agencies to attach different degrees of confidence based on the manner on underlying intel; that isn’t the same as there being disagreement over whether something happened,” Hennessey wrote.
“Maybe there really is a disagreement between agencies on whether this happened at all. But there is strong consensus among the reporting and the language the White House is using sure seems designed to obfuscate.”
The nationwide safety council spokesman, John Ullyot, told the Washington Post that “the veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated,” whereas the CIA, state division and protection division all declined remark.
The Post reported on Monday that the bounty program was believed to have resulted in deaths of US troops. Top Republican members on the House armed companies and international affairs committees had been briefed on Monday by the White House.
Congresswoman Katherine Clark, the vice-chair of the Democratic caucus, questioned Trump’s response to having purportedly been left at nighttime in regards to the bounty program. “The president is saying that he did not know of this, but where’s the outrage from him, that he didn’t know about this?” Clark advised Fox information. “Where is his questioning and demands for information?”
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, denied on Monday that such a bounty program existed. “You know, maybe I can say it’s a little bit rude but this is 100% bullshit,” Peskov advised NBC News’ Keir Simmons.