House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday at a press conference that, after receiving a White House briefing, he sees no indication that the intelligence surrounding allegations that Russian operatives paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops is a "hoax" — as President Trump has suggested.

What he's saying: "The president called this a hoax publicly. Nothing in the briefing that we have just received led me to believe it is a hoax. There may be different judgments as to the level of credibility, but there was no assertion that the information we had was a hoax."

The big picture: Hoyer suggested that the White House briefing did not include direct perspectives from the intelligence community, and reiterated his call for the Trump administration to provide a full briefing to House members.

  • "I would have preferred the briefing ... had been given by intel personnel, either from CIA — director [Gina] Haspel in particular — or NSA so that we would have the direct evidence and discussion from the intelligence community as to how credible they assessed the information," Hoyer said.
  • "I thought this briefing was the White House personnel telling us their perspective. I think we knew the White House perspective. What we need to know is the intelligence perspective."

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) also insisted that "the right people to give the briefing really were not in the room," and rebuked Trump for not assuring the public that he will "get to the bottom" of "whether Russians are putting bounties on the heads of American troops."

  • "I do not understand for a moment why the president isn't saying this to the American people right now and is relying on, 'I don't know, I haven't heard, I haven't been briefed.' That's just not excusable. His responsibility as commander in chief is to protect our troops," Schiff said.
  • "And I shared the concern at the White House today that I think many of us have, which is there may be a reluctance to brief the president on things he doesn't want to hear, and that may be more true with respect to Putin and Putin's Russia than with respect to any other subject matter."

The other side: National security adviser Robert O'Brien said in a statement Tuesday, "Because the allegations in recent press articles have not been verified or substantiated by the Intelligence Community, President Trump had not been briefed on the items."

  • "Nevertheless, the Administration, including the National Security Council staff, have been preparing should the situation warrant action."

Go deeper: GOP senator demands accountability over reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops

Go deeper

Jun 30, 2020 - Podcasts

McEnany blames N.Y. Times, "rogue intelligence officers" for undermining Trump

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany condemned the New York Times at a briefing Tuesday for publishing "unverified" allegations about intelligence on Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, suggesting that "rogue intelligence officers" are undermining President Trump and the country's security.

Driving the news: McEnany insisted that the president had not been briefed on the intelligence because it has not been fully verified by the intelligence community. She declined to comment on a recent New York Times report that the finding was included in late February in the written President's Daily Brief (PDB), which Trump has been reported to seldom read.

Bolton says he would have briefed Trump on Russian bounty intelligence

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton told CBS News' "The Takeout" podcast" on Wednesday that he would have personally briefed President Trump if he saw intelligence that Russian officials offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops, but cautioned that Trump is simply not receptive to intelligence briefings.

Driving the news: "The purpose of the briefing process is to meet the particular needs of the president and present it to him in the way that best suits his desires," Bolton said. "The problem with Donald Trump is not that he is not receptive to one means or another. He's just not receptive to new facts."

McEnany: "Right decision" not to brief Trump on Russian bounty intelligence

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday that the career CIA officer who chose not to verbally brief President Trump on the intelligence about alleged Russian bounties made "the right decision."

Driving the news: National security adviser Robert O'Brien told Fox News earlier Wednesday that "once the U.S. received raw intelligence on the Russian bounties, U.S. and coalition forces were made aware even though the intelligence wasn't verified."