White House Briefs House Republicans on “Russian Rewards” Intelligence | United States News

The White House informed Republican lawmakers on Monday of an intelligence assessment that Russian operatives had offered a reward for attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan, a day after Donald Trump said his intelligence advisers ” they did not find this information credible. “

In an unusual step, Democratic lawmakers were not included in the initial briefing, conducted by the national security adviser, the director of national intelligence and the White House chief of staff.

White House officials were communicating with Democrats in the House of Representatives to try to organize a briefing, Politico reported.

Trump has publicly attacked the intelligence force over the alleged rewards program. An initial report on the program last week by the New York Times, which has since been widely corroborated, raised the question of why the United States had failed to take action in response to suspected attacks on US soldiers.

Trump claimed Sunday that he had never been informed of the intelligence assessment. Later that day, he said that intelligence officials told him the threat was “not credible.”

But Trump was contradicted in the White House briefing room Monday by press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who said views on the veracity of intelligence were mixed within the intelligence community.

“There is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations, and indeed there are dissenting opinions from some in the intelligence community regarding the veracity of what is reported, and the veracity of the underlying allegations continues to be evaluated. McEnany said.

Susan Hennessey, executive editor of the Lawfare website at the Brookings Institution, responded on Twitter: “This smacks of the White House trying to mislead the public.

“It is common for different intelligence agencies to grant different degrees of trust depending on the form of the underlying intelligence; That is not the same as disagreement about whether something happened, ”Hennessey wrote.

“Perhaps there really is disagreement between the agencies as to whether this happened at all. But there is a strong consensus between the reports and the language that the White House is using seems designed to obfuscate.”

National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot told the Washington Post that “the veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated,” while the CIA, the state department and the defense department declined to comment.

The Post reported Monday that the rewards program was believed to have resulted in the deaths of US troops. Major Republican members on the House’s armed services and foreign affairs committees were briefed Monday by the White House.

Congresswoman Katherine Clark, vice chair of the Democratic committee, questioned Trump’s reaction to being left in the dark about the rewards program. “The president says he did not know about this, but where is his outrage, that he did not know about this?” Clark told Fox news. “Where are your questions and requests for information?”

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, denied on Monday that such a rewards program existed. “You know, maybe I can say it’s a little rude, but this is 100% a lie,” Peskov told Keir Simmons of NBC News.