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New revelations stir old questions about Trump and Russia

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

US President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump's White House can never, ever, get its story straight on Russia. Reports that a Russian military intelligence agency put a bounty on the heads of US troops in Afghanistan launched the President's team into a new cycle of confusion, apparent half-truths and contradictions as a fresh storm raged over Trump's mysterious deference to Moscow and its strongman leader, President Vladimir Putin.

(CNN)President Donald Trump's White House can never, ever, get its story straight on Russia.

Reports that a Russian military intelligence agency put a bounty on the heads of US troops in Afghanistan launched the President's team into a new cycle of confusion, apparent half-truths and contradictions as a fresh storm raged over Trump's mysterious deference to Moscow and its strongman leader, President Vladimir Putin.

Specifically, whether the President had been briefed on such explosive intelligence about Russia and US troops in Afghanistan.

McEnany's phrasing about a lack of consensus about the intelligence reports appeared to grant the information far more credence than Trump's declaration it was not credible but was another Russia "hoax. "

Two former senior intelligence officials told CNN's Jamie Gangel that it was "inconceivable" in any previous White House that the president would not have been informed of such grave intelligence and that the commander in chief would be briefed with caveats included.

But a US official with direct knowledge of the latest information said the intelligence was indeed contained in Trump's daily briefings sometime in the spring.

"After today's briefing with senior White House officials, we remain concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted US forces," the two lawmakers said.

"It is frequently the case that the President will be briefed -- should be briefed -- on matters where there is no absolute certainty about the intelligence on a given topic," Schiff said on CNN's "The Situation Room. "

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