WASHINGTON – The Trump administration told Republican members of Congress Monday that intelligence about potential Russian gifts may have been included at some point in the President’s Daily Brief, but not passed on to President Donald Trump in a formal threat briefing because it was not yet “usable”, “said the Republican high in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I believe it may have been,” in the short paper by the President, or PDB, said representative Michael McCaul, R-Texas in an interview.
Referring to the president, McCaul said, “I think the way the process works is that he is informed about three times a week about some sort of credible and feasible element. And the decision was made that at that time was not credible, a usable piece of intelligence. And if he did it at any time, it would be brought to his attention. “
McCaul was one of eight House Republicans briefed in the White House on Monday by the White House staff chief, national security adviser and director of national intelligence. A group of eight home Democrats should have received a similar briefing on Tuesday morning.
The White House insisted that Trump never received an intelligence briefing indicating that Russia offered gifts to Afghan militants to kill the United States and coalition troops. But both the White House and the office of the director of national intelligence refused to say whether the information was contained in the PDB, the highly classified document produced for the president and other senior officials, prompting speculation that Trump may have simply not read. its information material.
McCaul, who claimed to have emerged from the briefing with deep concern that intelligence might be correct, told lawmakers that no United States service member had died as a result of Russia’s payment of Afghan militants for kill them.
“Their response was no,” said McCaul. “Intelligence emerged in January. It is precisely during the period of peace talks” when the United States was negotiating with the Taliban for a temporary reduction in violence as a precursor to a broader political agreement.
The comments add to the growing confusion that a Russian reward offer has never been implemented and when the United States learned about it. An official familiar with intelligence said he had shown that U.S. troops and Afghan civilians died as a result, although other officials indicated that this was not confirmed. The Associated Press reported on Monday that the White House learned of intelligence in early 2019, a year earlier than indicated by other reports.
Ever since the allegations broke out in the media, Trump has claimed that the intelligence community has not found it credible. But in another indication that apparently the national security community has taken intelligence seriously, McCaul said Trump administration officials revealed that changes had been made in the protocols to protect US service members operating in the region, known as “force protection”, in response.
“They stressed that they did everything they could to protect our forces over there,” said McCaul. “And the report, according to them, the fact that nobody was killed, you know, I think he talks about it.”
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However, McCaul and other Republicans left the hearing asking for swift action to respond if intelligence was confirmed. McCaul said that if the allegations turn out to be true, the United States should impose heavy sanctions on the GRU, the Russian military intelligence unit implicated by intelligence.
McCaul also said that any discussion of Russia’s admission to the 7-nation group “should be off the table”. Trump has repeatedly claimed to allow President Vladimir Putin to re-enter the club of nations, from which he was expelled in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
House Republicans were told that the National Security Council was examining intelligence after various intelligence agencies disagreed on its truthfulness, McCaul said, with an intelligence agency, which he did not identify, having presented a “dissenting thesis”.
However, several months have passed since the first intelligence entry and McCaul acknowledged that it was not clear whether the NSC had actively validated or sought more information before the allegations went public in a New York Times article, triggering enormous pressure post for answers.
“This is a very good question. What they told me was that they had been in the process of checking through the NSC,” said McCaul. He added that CIA director Gina Haspel and John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, were embarking on a “smear of all intelligence data out there to verify the truthfulness and credibility.”
Ken Dilanian, Carol E. Lee, Courtney Kube and Kristen Welker contributed.