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CNN’s Jim Acosta grills GOP congressman on claim that president didn’t need to be briefed on Russian bounties

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On CNN Monday, chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta questioned Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) on his claims about the Russian bounty scandal.

“First of all, what is your reaction to that new report we have coming in, just in the last several minutes, that this information about bounties, Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, was included in the president’s daily brief?”

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“The question is, was it in the briefing book or briefed to him, two separate things,” said Kinzinger. “I worked in the White House, these intel agencies basically take the most important parts of that and brief it verbally to the president.”

“You were one of eight Republican lawmakers briefed on this intelligence today,” said Acosta. “You said that it shouldn’t have risen to the president’s level at that point because there was conflicting intelligence. Shouldn’t the commander in chief be briefed about a threat to U.S. troops, Russian bounties on U.S., troops even if the intelligence gathering is still in progress or if there is conflicting information? It sounds serious enough where it should rise to the level of telling the president.”

“Yeah, I don’t think it shouldn’t have been told to the president,” said Kinzinger. “What I said — and meant, if I didn’t quite say it right — is there was conflicting evidence. So that’s where you have to make a decision. Especially on something as big as Russia … the real issue here, though, is if it is true, and we know—”

“Do you know that to be the case, Congressman, that the president did not know about it?” said Acosta.

“That’s what I’ve been told,” said Kinzinger. “If I was told inaccurately, then, no, but I think he wasn’t briefed on it, that’s for sure. And from what I’m told, so I do know that, look, if the Russians in fact — and they have meddled in Afghanistan for quite some time — if they were doing this, let’s let this come out, and then the president needs to take aggressive action at that point. You can’t really do it if you don’t know.”

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