Former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonBolton says he would have personally briefed Trump on Russian bounties Coronavirus Report: The Hill’s Steve Clemons interviews Mark Penn Judge temporarily blocks publication of Mary Trump book MORE told CBS’s “The Takeout” podcast that he would have personally briefed President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on ‘incentives’ to attack US troops MORE on intelligence that Russia paid secret bounties to militants to kill U.S. troops.
The intelligence, first reported by The New York Times, found that the Russian military intelligence unit GRU had been secretly paying bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Susan Rice, Bolton’s predecessor in the Obama administration, wrote in an op-ed that she would have shown the intelligence to Obama. Bolton said he would have too.
“She said she would have walked in and shown it to Obama,” Bolton said. “I would have done the same if — I hope I would have done the same if I had this kind of information.”
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has denied that the president was briefed on the intelligence, saying that it was and is contested. Trump has called reports on the intelligence a “hoax.”
National security adviser Robert O’Brien told Fox News that Trump knew nothing about the reports because the briefer “decided not to” share unverified intelligence with him.
Bolton said that any intelligence regarding a threat to U.S. troops is generally presented to the president.
“You don’t take everything in to the president, but when American troops are threatened by an adversary like Russia in this way, if there’s any indication this is an ongoing operation, it’s something the president needs to take into account,” Bolton said.
The Times and other outlets have reported that the intelligence was included in a February edition of the President’s Daily Brief. Bolton said Trump is particularly difficult to brief and “just not receptive to new facts.”
“It’s not that the intelligence community is failing. it’s that the president doesn’t value this information as highly as his predecessors have and as highly as he should,” Bolton continued.
Bolton, the president’s longest-serving national security adviser, published a memoir last month, titled “The Room Where It Happened,” in which he documented his time in the White House. The Trump administration tried to block its publication and has contested some of the claims made in the book.
Among several claims in the book, Bolton alleges that Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping about how China could help his reelection efforts.