Updated Jun 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Ratcliffe: Russia bounty intel claim still being investigated

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe during his May nomination hearing on Capitol Hill. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in a statement Monday night it's a "crime" to leak sensitive information, after Democratic and Republican lawmakers demanded answers over reports that intel alleged Russian operatives placed bounties on U.S. troops.

Details: "We are still investigating the alleged interference referenced in media reporting and we will brief the President and Congressional leaders at the appropriate time," Ratcliffe said. "Unfortunately, the unauthorized disclosures now jeopardize our ability to find out the full story with respect to these allegations."

  • CIA Director Gina Haspel said in a statement Monday evening "initial tactical reports often require additional collection and validation" and preliminary details are in general shared in the national security community and with U.S. allies. "Leaks compromise and disrupt the critical interagency work to collect assess, and ascribe culpability," she said.

Why it matters: House Democrats are due to examine the intelligence on Tuesday morning, including Trump's comments Sunday night that officials did not brief him on the allegations because "they did not find this info credible."

What they're saying: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement late Monday that she had spoken with both Ratcliffe and Haspel to urge them to follow up on her formal request for a full House briefing on the intelligence surrounding Russian bounties.

  • Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) sent a letter to Trump earlier Monday calling for Senate hearings over the matter..
  • House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Monday evening called on the Trump administration to provide a full House briefing on the report and indicated that congressional hearings were likely.
  • Sen. Chris Murphy Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said later in the night that he had reviewed the intel, tweeting to President Trump: "It's not a hoax ... if you continue ignoring the facts, more soldiers and marines are going to die."
  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 House Republican, said in a Twitter post on Sunday morning that the Trump administration must provide answers.
"If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is true, the White House must explain: 1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the PDB? 2. Who did know and when? 3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?"
— Cheney's tweet

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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