Donald Trump has not discussed reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The President admitted he hadn’t confronted Vladimir Putin about the issue.
The President gave an interview to Axios on HBO on Tuesday where he downplayed the intelligence on Russian bounties paid to the Talbian. He also confirmed he hadn’t mentioned them to his Russian counterpart.
Trump spoke to Putin by phone on Thursday and said of the call: We don’t talk about what we discussed, but we had plenty of discussion.”
“I have never discussed it with him,” Trump told Axios.
“That was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly that’s an issue that many people said was fake news.”
The President claims intelligence agencies never briefed him on the bounties because they found the information less than credible. However, it later emerged the intelligence was contained in the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB).
Several news outlets suggested that Trump simply doesn’t read the PDB and there’s plenty of evidence that he doesn’t like to read. In the interview he said he did read it.
“[T]hey like to say I don’t read, I read a lot,” Trump said.
However, he said the Russian bounties intelligence “never reached my desk” because agencies “didn’t think it was real.”
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media
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