russia bounty scandal
It remains unclear if President Trump was briefed on an U.S. intelligence report that found that the GRU, a Russian military intelligence unit, offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants in Afghanistan to kill U.S. and coalition troops, but NBC News shed a little more light on the report itself.
Three people briefed on the matter confirmed the U.S. had indeed gathered the intelligence, which was first reported by The New York Times, although there's no telling how persuasive it is — one source said the assessment was based in part on interviews with Afghan detainees, which wouldn't alone prove the findings, and a senior defense official told NBC News there was no evidence bounties were actually ever paid. But agencies seemingly believed it had some merit since it was reportedly shared with both congressional leaders and the British government. Similarly, CNN is reporting that the intelligence inspired efforts to protect U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
With all that in mind, it seems strange that Trump was never made aware of the situation, but the White House and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe both denied the Times' report that he was briefed on the matter in March. Tim O'Donnell