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When news broke this weekend that Russia has been paying the Taliban a bounty to kill US and Coalition troops in Afghanistan, and that the National Security Council has known about it since March, the White House issued its regular slew of nonsensical denials. The president hadn't been briefed. Or perhaps he hadn't received a verbal report. Or maybe it wasn't true and the New York Times book reviewers were just FAKE NEWSING about poor, innocent Russia again.

Clearly books, and indeed reading itself, are kryptonite for the Ignoramus-in-Chief. Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted on Saturday that he hadn't been told about it, even though the New York Times reported that the Russian bounty plot had been included in the President's Daily Briefing, or PDB. After that, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe shifted from denials to "No comment."

So we all know where this is going — if Trump wasn't briefed, and the Times says he was, the damning information was definitely in the briefing book, and Trump just didn't read it. Because words are hard, and livetweeting Fox is so much more fun.


If that lazyass could be bothered to do his damn job, instead of immediately leaping to trash his own intelligence agencies and defend the honor of his best pal Vlad, he'd have discovered that Putin has been trying to even the score since the US killed hundreds of Taliban troops and Russian mercenaries in Syria in 2018.

According to the AP, Americans on the ground in Afghanistan have long suspected Putin was offering a bounty for US and coalition scalps. Then during a raid of a Taliban outpost earlier this year, Navy SEALs discovered half a million dollars of US cash, validating their suspicions. The Times quotes intelligence sources confirming that "Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019." The Washington Post reports that our military intelligence believes that at least one troop death is directly attributable to the Russian bounty scheme. And Britain's Sky News confirms that US intelligence agencies were confident enough in their conclusions to brief our UK counterparts — and their leaders actually managed to read the brief.

So apparently this isn't just those dirty hoaxers from the New York Times Books section.

And faced with credible evidence that Russia was targeting our troops, the White House decided to do ... NOTHING. The Post reports:

The disturbing intelligence — which the CIA was tasked with reviewing, and later confirmed — generated disagreement about the appropriate path forward, a senior U.S. official said. The administration's special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, preferred confronting the Russians directly about the matter, while some National Security Council officials in charge of Russia were more dismissive of taking immediate action, the official said.

The people who spent the past seven years pretending that Hillary Clinton could somehow have stopped the attack on our embassy in Benghazi have done fuckall to condemn attacks on American troops in Afghanistan. Cool cool.

In the wake of these revelations, the GOP has lurched into action. Liz Cheney is MAD, and Lindsey Graham is MAD, and Jim Inhofe is MAD, and the GOP is going to get to the bottom of this, darnit! Well, not all the way to the bottom, at least not if it embarrasses the president before the election. It's not like they're going to back Nancy Pelosi's demand for answers about what the president knew and when he knew it, when DNI Ratcliffe inevitably claims that information is CLASSIFIED EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE UNLEGAL. But if the GOP needs to jump up and down before November to prove that NUH UH they aren't all Putin's faithful servants, and they actually do love the troops, they're definitely ready for some performative flag waving.

This story is just getting started. Anyway, enjoy this fun ad!

Oh, and Donald Trump has STILL not condemned Russia for paying blood money for American scalps. Because he loves the troops, but he loves Putin more.

[NYT / WaPo / AP]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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