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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.

Between the lines: Ratcliffe was set to come before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a general oversight hearing before the New York Times broke the Russia story, according to two sources familiar with the committee's plans.

  • The White House is also in the process of scheduling a briefing for the Gang of Eight, which may result in the 2 p.m. Senate Intel hearing being postponed, one of the sources said.
  • A spokesman for House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) declined to comment on whether Ratcliffe plans to brief their committee.

The big picture: Lawmakers from both parties were briefed separately on the Russian bounty intelligence on Monday and Tuesday and came away with varying responses.

  • Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), one of the lawmakers briefed by the White House, accused the Times of engineering a "hit piece" against President Trump and compromising national security by publishing unverified intelligence.
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany echoed that sentiment at a briefing on Tuesday, suggesting that the Times and "rogue intelligence officers" are undermining Trump and the security of U.S. troops.
  • Trump has denied being briefed on the intelligence and has suggested that it's "another fabricated Russia Hoax." McEnany reiterated that denial at Tuesday's press briefing, but would not comment on a report from the Times that the intelligence was included in Trump's written Presidential Daily Brief in February.

The other side: Democrats briefed by the White House have shot down Trump's suggestion that the reports are a "hoax" and have called for the intelligence community to brief all members of Congress.

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

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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.

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."