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.

  • Pressed on this question, McEnany responded: "The president does read. And he also consumes intelligence verbally. This president, I'll tell you, is the most informed person on planet earth when it comes to the threats that we face."
  • McEnany went on to again attack the New York Times for the "irresponsible leak," and said that Trump would absolutely take action if intelligence showed that U.S. troops were in danger.
  • Worth noting: While the Times was the first to report on the story, elements of the alleged intelligence have also been reported by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, AP and NBC News.

What they're saying:

MCENANY: "These are rogue intelligence officers who are imperiling our troops' lives. We will very likely not be able to get a consensus on this intelligence because of what was leaked to the New York Times. And you have the NSC, ODNI and CIA all noting what damage this leak does, not just to the safety of our troops, which is paramount, but to the ability for the United States to aggregate information from our allies and have assets and get this valuable information."
REPORTER: "Members of the IC are going after Trump? Is that what you're saying?"
MCENANY: "It very possibly could be. And if that's the case, it's absolutely despicable."

The big picture: House Democrats who received a briefing on the Russia allegations from the White House on Tuesday morning rebuked Trump for suggesting that the reports were a "hoax," and called for a full House briefing by the intelligence community.

  • "Nothing in the briefing that we have just received led me to believe it is a hoax," Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. "There may be different judgments as to the level of credibility, but there was no assertion that the information we had was a hoax."

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

Go deeper

Trump's spy chief to brief Senate panel amid reports of Russian bounties

Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe is scheduled to provide a closed-door briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday amid allegations that Russian operatives paid Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, according to a spokesman for acting committee chair Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

Why it matters: The allegations that top officials at the White House were aware of intelligence that U.S. troops were being targeted by Russia have prompted bipartisan outcry. GOP lawmakers Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) are among those demanding answers.

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."

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."