Now more evidence emerges in the #RussiaBounty scandal and Trump simply looks to be even more negligent. He was briefed multiple times over the past year. Look for more distractions Tuesday, as multiple agencies engage in CYA statements.
Undercutting WH claims that Trump was never briefed on suspected Russian bounty operation & info was not solid enough to tell him about, it was in his written briefing (PDB) 4 months ago – likely Feb 27 – & was circulated broadly in IC on May 4.
Ã¢ÂÂ The New York Times (@nytimes) June 30, 2020
Trump is an obstacle to good policy. Either people don’t tell him the truth, or he doesn’t want to hear it. Whichever way, he’s defaulting on his most basic responsibility as commander in chief.
For the first 15 years of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, in which our former allies were now mortal enemies, the Russians played along. They were happy to let Americans kill the same Islamist militants that had used U.S.-supplied weapons to kill Russians. But starting in 2018, U.S. commanders noticed a difference: The Russians appeared to be helping the Taliban.Gen. John “Mick” Nicholson Jr., who commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan for more than two years, revealed the secret Russian aid for the Taliban in a March 23, 2018, interview with the BBC. He said Afghan leaders had showed U.S. commanders Russian-supplied weapons that had been smuggled across the border to Taliban fighters. He said the Russians were also peddling a false narrative that the United States was fostering a buildup of Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan, to justify their actions.Nicholson’s 2018 interview was a rare public protest by a U.S. official. Trump didn’t press the Russians to stop, and so they continued. The GRU military-intelligence units that were helping smuggle weapons to the Taliban in 2018 may have been the forerunners of GRU operatives who U.S. intelligence analysts suspect are the new bounty hunters.Through this January and February, as the CIA and military surveillance gathered reports about a cash stockpile in northern Afghanistan and other indicators of a possible Russian operation, U.S. military and intelligence officials became increasingly concerned, several told me. By March, they were pressing for a top-level review by senior Trump administration officials of this still-unconfirmed threat to U.S. soldiers.
What Trump was doing on 27 February, receiving the PDB intel brief on the Russian bounty program:
- Trump started February 27th on Twitter by hyping an upcoming campaign rally in North Carolina, which the president was hosting despite the pandemic.
- Trump then praised his Coronavirus Task Force for a “great job” and said cases of COVID-19 “look to be going down.”
- Trump then attacked former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
- He then accused CNN of being “fake news” in a second tweet quoting Trish Regan.
- He also praised a clip of Diamond and Silk, saying it was “so nice!”
- Then came complaints he was being blamed for America’s coronavirus response.
- He then retweeted a quote from Fox News anchor Trish Regan, blasting CNN for their coverage of the pandemic.
- He then again praised his administration’s response to coronavirus.
- And he finished his day on Twitter with threats to withhold federal funding from U.S. cities.