MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said Monday that President Donald Trump was not briefed on an alleged report of Russia offering bounties on American soldiers to the Taliban because the intelligence agencies view him as “mentally deficient.”
Trump dismissed a New York Times story Saturday that said Russia secretly offered bounties to reward Taliban-linked forces for killing United States and coalition troops in Afghanistan.
In a series of tweets, Trump said, “Nobody briefed or told me, [Vice President Mike Pence] or [Chief of Staff Mark Meadows] about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News @nytimes. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us…..”
“You have one of the most serious pieces of intel to come across a president’s desk at a time he’s trying to invite [Russian President Vladimir Putin] to the G-7, at a time he’s continuing to say that Russia’s a good friend of his, and they’re not going to tell the president?” Scarborough asked on “Morning Joe.” (RELATED: Trump Unleashes CIA Kill Teams In Afghanistan)
“That either suggests he’s so addled and so mentally deficient that [intelligence agencies] didn’t think it was worth their time telling him or that he’s a source of the Russians and they couldn’t trust him. There’s no other good explanation why you wouldn’t tell the president that the leader of Russia is putting bounties on the heads of young American troops.”
The story, published Friday, cites “officials briefed on the matter” as the sources for the report.
Trump addressed the issue of why he was not briefed on the matter in a tweet Monday. Trump said “Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!” (RELATED: Trump To Tucker: ‘I Would Just Like To Get Out’ Of Afghanistan)
Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!! https://t.co/cowOmP7T1S
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
Republican lawmakers as well as Democrats have treated the bounty story seriously, with Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeting Saturday that it is “imperative Congress get to the bottom of recent media reports that Russian GRU units in Afghanistan have offered to pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers with the goal of pushing America out of the region.”
Imperative Congress get to the bottom of recent media reports that Russian GRU units in Afghanistan have offered to pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers with the goal of pushing America out of the region. https://t.co/dm4QWATzgg
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 27, 2020
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton expressed skepticism over the report when asked about it Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” suggesting that the media sometimes gets the story wrong.