President Donald Trump continues to assert that he was not personally briefed on intelligence leading to allegations that Russian operatives offered bounties to Taliban members to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan.
According to The Federalist, however, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was informed about the situation — many months ago, in fact — but apparently chose to do nothing about it.
“Brief the full committee”
Schiff, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, was reportedly briefed in February during a trip he and his staff took to Afghanistan.
Despite having this information and the opportunity to act on it, he reportedly opted against taking the information through the appropriate channels.
The Federalist pointed out that Schiff “had the authority to immediately brief the full committee and convene hearings on the matter,” but did not inform bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate.
As for the congressman, he is remaining coy about his knowledge of the intelligence information as the story develops following a bombshell piece by The New York Times.
“I can’t comment on specifics,” he said in response to a reporter’s question about what he knew.
“Decided not to brief him”
During a Fox News Channel interview on Wednesday, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said that CIA officials determined that they should not brief the president in person regarding the evidence, which had not been corroborated.
“The president’s career CIA briefer decided not to brief him because it was unverified intelligence,” O’Brien said, going on to describe the officer as “outstanding,” according to CBS News.
Trump has suggested the Times report is the latest media hoax, tweeting that it is “just another made up by Fake News tale” aimed at damaging his administration and the Republican Party.
Whether the claims are valid or not, the evidence seems to show Trump was not directly briefed on them while a leading Democratic lawmaker was. What he did — or didn’t do — with that information will be up to the history books to interpret.