MSNBC's Joe Scarborough busted President Donald Trump's denials of a story about Russia putting a bounty on U.S. troops, and the administration's subsequent failure to respond.
The "Morning Joe" host said the denials didn't add up, and he said the episode was yet another example of Trump siding with Russian president Vladimir Putin over American intelligence services.
"At first Donald Trump said he didn't get the briefing and then he changes his story and starts suggesting that this might be a hoax," Scarborough said, speaking to New York Times reporter Charlie Savage, who helped break the story. "Yet, Charlie, didn't you say in March this was considered so serious by the intel community that the national security council convened a meeting in late March to figure out how to respond to Vladimir Putin's Russian government putting bounties on the heads of American soldiers, and they came up with several options -- none of which have been followed through on by this president."
"If they thought this intel was so damning that they needed to convene interagency meetings to figure out how to respond to the threat, doesn't that suggest right there that, first of all, it was important enough to take to the president of the United States, which, of course, your reporting says they did," he added. "Donald Trump is, once again, undercutting his own intel agencies like he did at Helsinki."
Scarborough found Trump's explanations implausible, and damning.
"The CIA station chief in Afghanistan knew about it, it was well known by the CIA there, it was well known in Washington, D.C., taken so seriously they convened a meeting at the end of March," Scarborough said. "It was put in the president's daily briefing, and yet, the president's going back to what he did in Helsinki, where he's once again undercutting U.S. intel agencies, once again undercutting a CIA station chief and the findings they found in Afghanistan, and deciding to go with Vladimir Putin's word that he didn't put a bounty on American soldier's head instead of his own intel community. The president, again, knew about this, according to the reporting, in late March. Here we are in late June and the president still hasn't even brought it up with Vladimir Putin, who he was calling his good friend two months after he was notified of this."