According to the Times, American intelligence officials “concluded months ago” that Russian intelligence officers had secretly offered rewards for successful attacks on coalition forces, including the targeting of U.S. troops. Subsequent stories by the Times and The Washington Post reported that the Russian rewards resulted in the deaths of U.S. troops and that American combat fatalities from the past 18 months are being reviewed in light of the alleged bounties.
Trump reportedly was briefed on the intelligence in March, according to the Times, and the White House has been weighing how to punish Russia for the scheme, though no action had been authorized. The president and the White House have repeatedly denied that Trump knew about the allegations.
But McEnany’s insistence about the lack of “consensus” on Monday contradicted the president, who late Sunday night tweeted that “Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me” or Vice President Mike Pence.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in a statement issued Monday that “neither the President nor the Vice President were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting yesterday.” The director said reporting from the Times and others that Trump had been briefed on the bounties was “inaccurate,” but he did not dispute the reporting on the intelligence itself.
Ric Grennell, who served as Trump’s acting director of national intelligence this past spring, tweeted Saturday that he “never heard this” in response to a Democratic congressman’s questions about the allegation and accused the congressman of politicizing intelligence.
The press secretary argued Monday that the intelligence community receives “thousands of reports a day,” she but claimed they would not be elevated to the president until verified.
Still, she announced that in response to an outcry for more information from Democrats and Republicans in Congress, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had extended an invitation to a bipartisan group of lawmakers and that a briefing at the White House was taking place as she spoke, though that briefing apparently was limited to Republicans and a briefing for Democratic lawmakers had not yet been scheduled.
Asked why congressional leaders were being briefed on an issue the president had not been, McEnany replied that “this has been and answered, the president is briefed on verified intelligence.”
Washington (CNN)White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany is defending President Donald Trump’s recent use of the term “kung flu” to refer to the coronavirus at a rally over the weekend, insisting that it isn’t racist.
“I think that’s a ridiculous proposition. This president is looking forward to November,” McEnany told “America’s Newsroom.”
“This president is hard at work for the American people. Leave it to Democrats to go out and grandstand and level these conspiracy theories.”
Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, used an appearance on a late-night comedy show Wednesday to address a popular topic of speculation among Democrats: Would President Trump peacefully give up power if he loses November’s election?
If Trump doesn’t, Biden told host Trevor Noah of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” then he’s “absolutely convinced” the U.S. military would step in to assure a transition to a new president.
“I promise you,” Biden said. “I am absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.”
Biden’s confidence may have been bolstered in recent days by the number of military figures who’ve spoken out publicly against the president after peaceful protesters were forcefully removed from the Lafayette Square area, near the White House, to clear a path so Trump and his entourage could safely walk to nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was partially damaged during the unrest over the death of George Floyd.
McEnany also said that Trump takes “personal offense” to military generals’ names being removed from bases. After some high-profile generals floated the idea of renaming Army bases named after Confederate generals, Trump said that his administration would “not even consider” such legislation.
“He takes it personally offensive the notion that the men who deployed to World War II, to World War I, to Korea, to all across the world, to Vietnam, the last bit of the United States many of these men saw were these forts and to somehow imply these forts were racist installations and that’s the last thing they saw as they left, many of whom lost their lives overseas, the president will not stand for that,” McEnany said.
“The president will respect this because these forts and these names are associated with the heroes within them, not the name on the fort,” McEnany said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany at Friday’s press briefing:
MCENANY: I also find it interesting if we want to start talking about the fabrication of crimes we can litigate that case pretty publicly with James Clapper who said what President Trump did with Russia pales–that Watergate pales in comparison we can talk about lying and saying President Trump was working on behalf of the Russians. We can talk about Hakeem Jeffries lying and saying the President was a Russian asset. We can talk about shifts saying there was ample evidence of collusion in plain sight when in fact there was not.
We can talk about Mark Warner saying there is enormous amounts of evidence of collusion. We can talk about a CNN historian who said there was a smell of treason in the Trump Russia probe when in fact for three years you all talked about collusion and there was none and it was a huge injustice not just to this administration but to the American people who deserve truth not the alleging of absolutely false allegations against this President.