According to the Times, US intelligence officials “concluded months ago” that Russian intelligence officers had secretly offered rewards for successful attacks on coalition forces, including the attack on US troops. Subsequent stories from The Times and The Washington Post reported that Russian rewards resulted in the deaths of American troops and that American combat deaths in the past 18 months are being reviewed in light of the alleged rewards.
Trump was reported to have received intelligence on March, according to the Times, and the White House has been weighing how to punish Russia for the plan, although no action has been authorized. The president and the White House have repeatedly denied that Trump knew about the allegations.
But McEnany’s insistence on a lack of “consensus” on Monday contradicted the president, who tweeted Sunday night that “Intel informed me they did not find this information credible and therefore did not report it to me” or Vice President Mike Pence
National intelligence director John Ratcliffe said in a statement released Monday that “neither the president nor the vice president was ever informed of any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its report yesterday.” The director said reporting from the Times and others that Trump had been informed of the rewards was “inaccurate,” but did not question the intelligence reports themselves.
Ric Grennell, who served as Trump’s acting director of national intelligence last spring, tweeted Saturday that he “never heard this” in response to questions from a Democratic congressman about the indictment and accused the congressman of politicizing intelligence.
The press secretary argued on Monday that the intelligence community receives “thousands of reports a day,” but stated that they would not be elevated to the president until it is verified.
Still, he announced that in response to a cry 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 session was in progress. briefing at the White House as she spoke, though that meeting was apparently limited to Republicans and a briefing for Democratic lawmakers had not yet been scheduled.
When asked why congressional leaders were being briefed on an issue that the president had not been, McEnany replied that “this has been and responded, the president receives information on verified intelligence.”