White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019
July 1, 2020
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 has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.
The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump's written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.
The White House did not respond to questions about Trump or other officials' awareness of Russia's provocations in 2019. The White House has said Trump was not - and still has not been - briefed on the intelligence assessments because they have not been fully verified. However, it is rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to top officials.