President Donald Trump took to his Twitter account to insist reports that he ignored intelligence briefings about a Russian military agency putting a bounty on the heads of American troops are “fake news.”
The president quoted a statement from the Department of Defense (DOD) released late Monday that it had not yet validated the reported intelligence and “DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports.”
“Do people still not understand that this is all a made up Fake News Media Hoax started to slander me & the Republican Party,” he wrote. “I was never briefed because any info that they may have had did not rise to that level.”
“No corroborating evidence to back reports.” Department of Defense. Do people still not understand that this is all a made up Fake News Media Hoax started to slander me & the Republican Party. I was never briefed because any info that they may have had did not rise to that level
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020
The president’s tweet mirrors one he wrote earlier this week in which he claimed he was not briefed on the details of the intelligence. He accused The New York Times of making up the story.
Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!! https://t.co/cowOmP7T1S
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the “veracity” of the reports “continue to be evaluated,” even after the president insisted that “intel just reported to me they did not find this info credible, and therefore didn’t report it to me.”
“There is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations and in effect, there are dissenting opinions from some in the intelligence community with regards to the veracity of what’s being reported, and the veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated,” she said.
Several sources within the intelligence community, including David Priess, a former CIA officer who authored The President’s Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents, have disputed that assertion.
“This is exactly the kind of thing that the President’s Daily Brief was created for, to make sure that the President had the most up-to-date analysis and assessment of what is almost always uncertain intelligence. You don’t put things in the President’s Daily Brief only when they are completely corroborated and verified,” Priess told CNN.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.