Rep. Kinzinger explains why question of Trump being briefed on Russia bounty intel is ‘irrelevant’

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Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told Fox News Radio Tuesday that it is unlikely President Trump was briefed on intelligence that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan due to the information’s unverified nature.

« I don’t think the president was briefed, » Kinzinger told « The Brian Kilmeade Show. » « The briefer made the decision when he — keep in mind this is when the coronavirus pandemic is kicking off as well — skipped over that issue to wait for more information. »

The New York Times report on the intelligence sent shockwaves throughout Washington over the weekend. A senior U.S. official told Fox News Monday that the National Security Council recently met to come up with a « menu of responses » to Russian action in Afghanistan. However, a White House official said the president was not briefed on the matter until « after the NY Times reported on unverified intelligence » Friday.

« What I do know is that whether or not the president was briefed, frankly, is irrelevant because the intelligence agencies could not yet agree on this, » explained Kinzinger, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who attended a White House briefing on the subject. « If this is something, you need to have large agreement or at least [agreement] to a point of significant confidence to be able to take action.

« Otherwise, in theory, if it’s not true and you’re reacting against the Russians, think of the damage of that. »

Kinzinger added that the intelligence leak to the Times is more than likely going to « dry up any trails we have been pursuing to get more information on this, » but urged lawmakers to resist politicizing the issue as they wait for more information.

« I think where we’re at now, unfortunately, this has become a political issue, » he said. « Republicans and Democrats should both agree that if Russia is doing this, there has to be harsh consequences. Instead, a lot of people have taken this as a moment to do politics with it and embarrass the president. »

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News – Rep. Kinzinger explains why question of Trump being briefed on Russia bounty intel is ‘irrelevant’

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