News & Politics

Trump Says He Was Never Briefed on Taliban Bounty Intel

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Democrats are piling on Donald Trump for “not doing anything” about the New York Times story regarding intelligence reports that the Russians paid Taliban fighters to target American soldiers. The Times says that Trump knew of the reports in March, that the NSC had met to discuss the matter and had not settled on a course of action.

Biden, who was the vice president for the do-nothing president of all time, Barack Obama, skewered Trump for his inaction.

The Hill:

Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said during a virtual town hall on Saturday that the Times report, if true, represents a “truly shocking revelation,” emphasizing Trump’s reported failure to retaliate against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Not only has he failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,” Biden said.

There are already sanctions on Russia, Putin, and many of his cronies. For a bunch of people who were demanding the U.S. lift sanctions on Iran even though they were getting closer to getting a nuclear weapon, they certainly have changed their tune about starving innocent people.

Biden said he was “outraged” by the Times report and said that Trump’s “entire presence has been a gift to Putin.”

“This is beyond the pale. It’s a betrayal of the most sacred duty in the nation: to protect our troops when we send them into harm’s way,” Biden said.

Biden added, “If I’m elected president, make no mistake about it, Vladimir Putin will be confronted and we’ll impose serious costs on Russia.” We’ve already hit Russia with serious sanctions — the country, individuals, and companies. What can we do to “confront” Putin that would make Russia feel any more pain than they already are? According to the Congressional Research Service, there aren’t any realistic options — none that would hurt Putin or Russia.

I suppose in order to “confront” Putin, we could drop a nuke or two on Moscow or confront them like Obama used to confront Iran and other nations. We could send Putin a “strongly worded letter.” That’ll fix him.

As for Trump’s response, or lack of it, he says he wasn’t briefed.

If he wasn’t briefed on this, every national security official in the White House should be fired immediately.

Trump no doubt demanded confirmation of the intel and that had to take time. The NSC gave him options — none of which were any good because there are none — short of war or threatening war.

It’s so easy to kibbitz from the sidelines. But in this case, Biden wanted to advance the narrative that Trump is in Putin’s pocket while his surrogates take it a step further, suggesting that Mueller got it wrong, that there was collusion and that Putin “has something” on Trump.

For the record, administration intelligence officials are backing Trump.

CNN:

In addition to McEnany, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe also said in a statement on Saturday that he had “confirmed that neither the President nor the Vice President were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting yesterday.”

He added: “The White House statement addressing this issue earlier today, which denied such a briefing occurred, was accurate. The New York Times reporting, and all other subsequent news reports about such an alleged briefing are inaccurate.”

It’s highly ironic that the vice president for a president who drew a “red line” on Syrian use of chemical weapons and then did nothing when they were employed should criticize anyone for not acting.