Maybe Trump Just Loves Putin More Than He Loves American Troops
Every single time there's an update on the story of Vladimir Putin paying Taliban fighters up to $100,000 per head for American troops' heads, it gets worse. The New York Times is a dog with a bone right now, reporting last night on the Afghan contractor who handed out the cash, for the dead American troops. Business Insider is also killing it lately, and reported late yesterday afternoon confirmations from the Taliban, which went to pains to add that Only Bad Talibans do such things. Those Talibans are Tali-BAD, and if they keep this up, they are going to be Tali-BANNED.
OK we'll stop.
Point is, it keeps getting worse, and Donald Trump has definitely been briefed on this by now, but he's either unwilling or not allowed to do anything about it, because of how Putin may very well control him in some way.
The Washington Post reported Thursday night on Trump's plans to stick his thumbs up his unpatriotic ass and continue doing nothing:
The White House is not planning an immediate response to intelligence reports of Russian bounties given to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan because President Trump does not believe the reports are true or "actionable," according to two senior administration officials.
He just doesn't believe it, you guys. He's not "convinced." Just like the coronavirus, he thinks it's another fake news Democrat witch hoax meant to hurt him, which is exactly what he tweeted about it Wednesday morning.
The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican… https://t.co/x2I35nc8Aq— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1593601761.0
Got it? Trump believes Putin, just like he believed Putin that day in Helsinki, when Putin "very strongly" denied attacking the 2016 US election to help him out. He always believes Putin. He once complained that Putin feels "very insulted" when you accuse him of these bad things. Why, Putin probably feels "very insulted" right now! Won't somebody think of poor President-For-Life Putin?
Here's Trump explaining to Fox News yesterday that this is all a hoax, and lying and saying he was never briefed on this, because it didn't "rise to that level" that they would bring it to him. (Yes, this is the same interview where Trump said — YESTERDAY — that he thinks we're "going to be very good" with the coronavirus, and that it's going to just "disappear.")
To be clear, this information did make it into the President's Daily Brief, which is not where intel goes if the government doesn't think it's credible. (It was in there the day in February when he got to hang out with Diamond and also Silk!) John Bolton says he personally briefed Trump on it last year, out loud, with sounds coming out of his mustache hole. But that was long before the raid six months ago when they found all the Russian blood cash in Kabul, so we guess it isn't supposed to count. Funny how Trump just still doesn't believe it, even though "found the cash six months ago" happened long before "Diamond And Silk Day At The White House," when the "unverified" intel was in Trump's PDB.
The Post reports that others in the White House are also too skeptical of this "unverified" intel, but that the White House and the CIA are nonetheless very mad it got leaked, which is a totally normal response to things that are fake news. (By the way, also "unverified" intel? The intel that led Barack Obama to kill Osama bin Laden the very same night he also killed Donald Trump! In case you haven't yet, please read Liz's rant on what the fuck "unverified" actually means.)
The Post notes that the White House spent quite a lot of time preparing options for how Trump could respond to Putin ALLEGEDLY UNVERIFIEDLY buying Americans in bodybags from the Taliban, which is not something they do with intel that doesn't "rise to that level."
[F]ormer officials who have taken part in options development say national security officials would not have begun the process had they not felt the information had to be taken seriously. Options including sanctions and diplomatic censure were debated in late March. The administration's special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, was said to prefer confronting the Russians directly about the matter.
"They obviously thought it exceeded the threshold for action, which implies that it was more than a stray, uncorroborated report," said Katrina Mulligan, a former director on the National Security Council staff in Barack Obama's administration.
BUT BUT BUT! The White House has a bunch more excuses for Trump's ignorance of the issue, besides whining about how it is UNVERIFIEDGHAZI!11!1!11!
Do you want to hear them? Hey, come back here, the White House is talking!
You see, it is the CIA's briefer's fault! Because if this was so important, that briefer should have known you have to draw Trump pictures and hold Snausages in front of his mouth to entice him to pay attention, and if they didn't do that, that's on them.
[Press asshole liar Kayleigh] McEnany said it was the decision of the intelligence officer in charge of orally briefing the president not to tell him about the bounty reports, a decision that "[National Security Adviser Robert] O'Brien agreed with." Intelligence, McEnany said, is normally not "transmitted up to the president" until there is "a strategic decision for the president to make" on what to do about it. "That's the way intelligence works."
Fuck off, Kayleigh McEnany and Robert O'Brien.
NBC News has a whole article right now about how literally all of this is bullshit. Even if Trump doesn't read his PDB, if it's in there, that means everybody at the top knows about it, and any of them can play dangle the Snausage and make him listen. The national security advisor — Robert O'Brien, who is, again, bullshitting about "unverified" intel — gets the PDB. They were preparing options for Trump to respond. They were doing ALL THE THINGS.
CNN's Jim Sciutto, however, also has reporting about how Trump's top national security officials and briefers have a rule to "never lead with Russia," and how they often hide or downplay Russia intel, because of how it makes President Russian Agent very very mad:
"It creates a self-fulfilling prophecy where he hears less and less of what he doesn't want to hear and therefore starts to believe more and more that the Russians aren't doing anything bad," [a] former senior NSC official said, explaining that when Trump later claimed in public that he hadn't seen evidence of Russian aggression, he was sometimes telling the truth — but the reason he hadn't seen it was that they hadn't shown it to him fearing it would provoke a negative reaction.
So maybe they didn't tell him because they were chickenshit, in which case they all should resign in shame.
Trump's butt-sniffer at the State Department, Mike Pompeo, is also downplaying the story, saying Russia doing bad things in Afghanistan is "nothing new," just like he has always said about Russian meddling in our elections. Nothing to see here, they always attack our elections and pay rubles for American war dead, while the president is trying to muscle Russia back into the G7 for its good behavior or maybe because Putin has compromised Trump.
Pompeo also seemed to suggest maybe Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats should have done something about this intelligence, if they're so worried about it:
Responding to lawmakers of both parties who are "suggesting that they are shocked and appalled by this," Pompeo said, "They saw the same intelligence that we saw, so it would be interesting to ask them what they did when they saw whatever intelligence it is that they are referring to." He said the information was shared "more broadly" than with just the intelligence committees.
So here we are. The White House has had this intel for a long time, and the intel community seems to think it's pretty fuckin' credible, enough that they put it in the president's PDB and they've prepared options for Trump to respond. And they are very mad all this leaked.
And yet Trump will do nothing about it, because he loves Putin more than he loves American troops.
Here, have a Lincoln Project ad about Trump loving Putin. Those fuckers cut an ad in Russian, LOL.
Fellow Traveler www.youtube.com
Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE, DO IT RIGHT HERE!
Wonkette is fully funded by readers like YOU. If you love Wonkette, WE NEED YOUR LOVE GIFTS TO KEEP US GOING.