Express Reporter :
The White Dwelling on Monday persisted to deflect questions about reports U.S. intelligence sure Russia offered bounties to the Taliban to raze U.S. troops in Afghanistan, asserting “the veracity” of such allegations is peaceful being sure and insisting that President Donald Trump had yet to be briefed on the likely politically antagonistic topic.
“There is rarely at all times any consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations,” press secretary Kayleigh McNenay urged journalists, “and in discontinue, there are dissenting opinions from some in the intelligence community with regards to the veracity of what’s being reported, and the veracity of the underlying allegations proceed to be evaluated.”
But even as she spoke — and administration officials were briefing concerned participants of Congress at the White Dwelling — she repeatedly stated Trump himself peaceful “has now not been briefed on the topic.”
The intelligence “would now not be elevated to the president till it modified into verified,” she stated.
Asked by journalists, “Does the president maintain a particular message for Moscow given these reports?” she answered, “A particular message for Moscow? No, because he’s now not been briefed on the topic, as I accepted.”
Yet Sunday evening, Trump tweeted: “Intel loyal reported to me that they did now not safe this data credible, and therefore did now not report it to me or @VP . Perhaps one other fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Unfounded News @nytimesbooks, looking out for to originate Republicans look inferior!!!”
Asked what Trump meant when he tweeted that, McEnany answered: “I compose now not maintain any additional facts on the president’s non-public correspondenc
She stated that closing evening, White Dwelling Chief of Workers Brand Meadows referred to as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Dwelling Majority Leader Steny Hoyer “and stated that he may perchance perchance be briefing eight participants from the committees of jurisdiction, so there modified into a bipartisan invitation extended,” she stated, declining to provide additional facts.
Asked what Trump would discontinue to expend Russia responsible if the intelligence is borne out to be moral, she stated, “I will also now not speculate on whether or now not this intelligence is verified or now not verified and I will also now not get earlier than the president on additional actions.”
She stated Trump had “been extraordinarily solid on Russia, imposing sanctions on a complete bunch of Russian participants, expelling dozens of diplomats, closing two Russian consulates, withdrawing from an INF treaty and quite rather a lot of different other actions.”
Pushed on what she meant that Trump hadn’t been briefed — and if that meant it wasn’t in the President’s Each day Short (PDB) — she answered, “He modified into now not personally briefed on the topic.”
It modified into unclear which participants of Congress bought briefed.
Dwelling Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer referred to as for briefings of their respective legislative physique’s paunchy membership.
Whereas the White Dwelling did now not specify what number of participants had been invited, the legitimate stated the gathering would now not score the invent of a assembly of the “Gang of Eight” — a bipartisan neighborhood of senior lawmakers continually briefed on aloof intelligence.
Pelosi, a member of the “Gang of Eight,” stated on Sunday in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that she had now not been briefed on the topic.
The New York Instances reported Friday that U.S. intelligence officials had sure a Russian navy intelligence unit had offered militants tied to the Taliban bounties for killing U.S. and other worldwide troops in Afghanistan.
A navy legitimate confirmed to ABC News that U.S. intelligence agencies had sure that to be the case and stated Russia had taken the step over the last year, amid peace talks to cease the 18-year war in Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump denied that he or vice president had been briefed concerning the option, as The New York Instances reported Friday.
“No one briefed or urged me, @VP Pence, or [White House] Chief of Workers @MarkMeadows concerning the so-referred to as attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians,” Trump tweeted Sunday, lambasting the Instances’ memoir. “Each person is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us.”
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe wrote on Twitter Saturday evening that “neither the President nor the Vice President were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Instances in its reporting yesterday.”
Pelosi on Monday morning wrote in a letter to the director of national intelligence and the pinnacle of the Central Intelligence Agency that the revelation modified into “very annoying” and requested a straight away interagency briefing for all Dwelling participants.
“The questions that arise are: modified into the President briefed, and if now not, why now not, and why modified into Congress now not briefed,” she wrote.
Without prolong following the letter, a senior White Dwelling legitimate stated the White Dwelling did now not scheme to agenda a briefing for all participants of the Dwelling this week.
Schumer similarly referred to as for all senators to be briefed on the reports.
“We prefer to cling whether or now not or now not President Trump modified into urged this data, and if this is the case, when,” Schumer stated in a inform.
In a while the Senate floor, Schumer stated the president knew of these allegations as early as March and did now not score swift action.
“Russia presents bounties to raze Americans and the administration does nothing? Nothing?” Schumer stated. “Donald Trump, you is inclined to be now not being a truly solid president right here as regular.”
Senators on the opposite aspect of the aisle furthermore voiced challenge.
Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted Saturday that it modified into “crucial Congress get to the bottom of as much as date media reports” and that “I quiz the Trump Administration to score such allegations severely and listing Congress straight away as to the reliability of these news reports.”
“If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is moral,” Score. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., tweeted Sunday, the White Dwelling must be aware: 1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the data in the [president’s daily intelligence briefing]? 2. Who did know and when? What has been carried out according to provide protection to our forces & expend [Russian President Vladimir] Putin responsible?”
Fellow Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma stated that “we want answers.”
“I maintain asked the administration to part what it knows, and I quiz to cling extra in the coming days,” he tweeted Monday morning.
ABC News’ James Gordon Meek, Ben Siegel Trish Turner, John Parkinson And Allison Pecorin contributed to this report.