Speed Reads

it doesn't work like that

Why skeptics aren't buying the White House's line that Trump wasn't briefed on Russian bounty report

The White House on Monday reiterated that President Trump was not briefed on United States intelligence that found a Russian military intelligence unit was offering bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops. The reason, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, was because there was "no consensus" within the intelligence community and the report wouldn't make its way to the Oval Office until it was "verified."

Skeptics, including former CIA officer Ned Price, aren't buying the explanation, however, noting that if things were handled that way within the intelligence community then former President Barack Obama wouldn't have been briefed on the intelligence placing Osama bin Laden in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Obama eventually signed off on a raid of the complex that resulted in bin Laden's death in 2011.

Of course, not every intelligence report is the same, and despite the uncertainty in the Abbottabad scenario, there were plenty of reasons why the community felt it deserved Obama's attention. Similarly, there could have been reasons why intelligence officials didn't think the Russian bounty information should reach Trump's desk. But it's worth noting that, historically, consensus has not always been a requirement for bringing the commander-in-chief into the fold.