The Past 24 Hours or So – Trump Administration News

Read Time: 4 Minutes

  • Intelligence officials told the Associated Press that the president was briefed on the Russian/Taliban bounty matter earlier this year. “The administration discussed several potential responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step.”
  • American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, two officials familiar with the matter said.

The assessment was backed up by “several pieces of information” that supported the view that there was an effort by the Russian intelligence unit, the GRU, to pay bounties to kill U.S. soldiers, but added that there was also information that did not corroborate this view.

“This was a big deal. When it’s about U.S. troops you go after it 100 percent, with everything you got,” the official said. 

Trump has denied being briefed on the matter.

  • Late Monday night, the Associated Press reported that top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.

The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.

  • Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are demanding answers after reports revealed the intelligence community concluded months ago that Russia offered bounties to incentivize Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan.

The uproar includes a chorus of Republicans who are typically reticent to confront President Trump, who has sought to deflect blame and responsibility by arguing he was not briefed on the intelligence that he claims is not credible.

  • President Trump set off a “five-alarm fire” in the White House on Sunday morning after he retweeted a video of one of his supporters saying “white power,” according to two White House officials.

The video remained on the president’s Twitter page for more than three hours because White House officials couldn’t reach him to ask him to delete it. The president was at his golf club in Virginia and had put his phone down, the officials said.

Aides also tried unsuccessfully to reach deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino to ask him to delete the retweet.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C) added to the urgency when he called the tweet “indefensible” and demanded that the president take it down during an interview on CNN.

Once officials were able to reach the president, he agreed to delete it.

  • Iran issued arrest warrants for President Trump and 35 others in relation to Islamic Revolution Guard Corps commander Qasem Soleimani’s death. The Tehran attorney general says Trump was at the top of the list.
  • A group of top House Democrats is introducing a new proposal to empower the House to levy stiff fines against Trump officials who defy subpoenas.
  • President Trump threatened to veto House Democrats’ $1.5 trillion green infrastructure plan on Monday, arguing it should eliminate or reduce environmental reviews and doesn’t route enough money to rural America.

The bill contains billions to repair the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges while setting aside funds for broadband, schools and hospitals. It would also require states to commit to reducing greenhouse gases and other climate measures in order to receive funding.

But Republicans have branded it as an iteration of the Green New Deal crafted without their input.

  • The Supreme Court declined to take a case challenging President Trump’s border wall, leaving in place a decision that rejected environmental groups’ quest to stop construction. The lawsuit was over the Trump administration’s decision to waive environmental reviews to speed up construction of the wall.
  • Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who last week ordered former Trump adviser, Roger Stone, immediately into home confinement and to prison on July 14, said she was turning down Stone’s request to delay his reporting to prison until September.
  • The Trump administration placed new restrictions on U.S. exports of defense equipment and certain high-technology products to Hong Kong on Monday, in response to a new Chinese law aimed at tightening Beijing’s control over the territory.
  • A bipartisan group of senators is trying to place limits on President Trump’s ability to remove troops from Germany unless the administration is able to meet a slew of requirements. 

The proposal, spearheaded by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), would prohibit the administration from reducing the number of active-duty troops in Germany below 34,500 unless the Pentagon can certify to Congress that it is in the national security interest of the United States and would not negatively undermine European alliances or NATO.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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