President Trump has angrily denied reports that he knew the GRU — the same Russian spies who interfered in the 2016 U.S. election — paid Taliban-linked Afghan militia to attack coalition forces, including Americans.
There’s little reason to take stock in the administration’s denials, particularly on anything Russia-related.
Previous reporting has revealed two things about this president: One, Trump rarely reads the Presidential Daily Brief, the written summary of intelligence findings, preferring minimal oral reports. Two, because of Trump’s unusual relationship with Vladimir Putin, briefers routinely dance around potential Russia-damaging information. Thus, the denial that Trump was briefed doesn’t rule out that it could have been in the written daily brief — and Trump just didn’t focus; it also could mean that grim findings were purposely sugar-coated.
It is Congress’ job to determine whether Trump ignored flashing red sirens, whether the intel agencies glossed over what they knew or whether, in fact, there’s less there there than suggested in the Times report. Do it, and do it now. American troops remain in harm’s way.