The evidence just keeps coming: Donald Trump is a Russian asset.
Time Magazine is one of the many media outlets reporting what can only be labeled a bombshell: that Trump’s buddy Vladimir Putin had put bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan–paying Taliban fighters for each American killed– and that the U.S. has taken no action in response.
In his first comment on the matter, President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that “nobody briefed or told me” about the “so-called attacks,” a comment that his former national security adviser termed “remarkable.”
The New York Times reported Friday on the alleged actions by Russian military intelligence — paying Taliban-linked militias to kill American and British troops — and that Trump and other top White House officials had been briefed on the matter months ago. Major elements were also reported by the Washington Post.
The New York Times reported that the bounties likely resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members. The Times also reported that the President had been briefed about the intelligence in late March, and had chosen to do nothing. (The Times may have been the first to report on the alleged Russian operation–they got the “scoop”– but the story has since been confirmed by several other media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and ABC News.)
VoteVets clearly believes the reports; the veteran’s organization has issued a scathing video in response.
Trump’s continued insistence that neither he nor Pence had been briefed on the matter is simply not credible, according to former Intelligence officials–and if it did prove to be true, it would expose huge failings in the Trump administration.
David Priess was a CIA agent during Bill Clinton and George W Bush’s presidencies; he took to Twitter to explore the various possibilities. He found it significant that the White House was not disputing the truth of the intelligence, and concluded that if the president really wasn’t told, the failure to brief him would constitute a massive failing by the national intelligence community.
Susan Rice, who served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, also has been quoted as saying that if the denial were true, and the intelligence never made its way to the president, it would signal dangerous incompetence by the Trump administration.
“I don’t believe this for a minute, but if it were true, it means that Trump is not even pretending to serve as commander in chief. And no one around him has the guts to ask him to. More evidence of their deadly incompetence,” she wrote, following the White House denial.
Her deputy at the time, Ben Rhodes, wrote: “In addition to being almost certainly a lie, the idea that Trump wouldn’t be briefed on Russia putting a bounty on US troops is even crazier than him being briefed and doing nothing.”
This is an evolving crisis: A report late yesterday from the New York Times quotes two officials insisting that the President had been briefed on the matter on February 27th. An even later report, from the AP, asserted that top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than previously reported.
So–as most commentators assumed–Trump is lying. The obvious question is: why did he fail to take any action? (Or as several people in my FaceBook feed put it, what does Putin have on him?)
Just last month, Trump was calling for Russia to be reinstated into the G7.
As the blowback has grown, and as both Democrats and Republicans have demanded answers, Trump’s protestations have morphed somewhat. According to Huffpost, Trump now claims that the Intelligence officials had determined that the story was “not credible.”
What is “not credible” is this massively incompetent, thoroughly corrupt and probably traitorous administration.
Twenty-four Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan between early 2019 and early 2020. A competent administration would want to know what part, if any, the Russian bounty operation played in those deaths. A President not beholden to Russia and Vladimir Putin would act–if not in late February or early March, when the President rather obviously knew about this– at least now, when the whole world knows.
November can’t come soon enough.