President Donald Trump further dug into his claim late Sunday night that he had been unaware of the intelligence community’s reports that Russia paid Taliban forces to kill U.S. troops, asserting that intelligence officers had not found the reports to be credible and therefore did not inform him of them.
“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP,” Trump tweeted in response to Sen. Lindsey Graham calling on Congress to investigate the reports.
“Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!” the President continued.
Trump’s new claim confirms the existence of the intelligence officials’ findings.
His tweet also runs alongside his and the White House’s denial of the Times’ bombshell revelation that intelligence officials had briefed him all the way back in late March on Russia’s operations with the terrorist group and that he had declined to take any action on the matter.
“Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff@MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an “anonymous source” by the Fake News@nytimes,” Trump tweeted on Sunday morning.
The New York Times’ report was backed up by the Wall Street Journal.
Additionally, unnamed sourced told the Washington Post on Sunday night that Russia’s dealings with the Taliban had led to the killings of several American forces, of which the White House had been informed in late March.
The Trump administration plans to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan in the fall.
The office of Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist who has also denied that Trump knew of intelligence community’s reports on Russia and the Taliban, did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.