Trump advisor claims president wasn't briefed on Russian assassination bounties because of media 'allegations'
Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O'Brien speaks to families of Americans held captive abroad on April 2, 2019, at the Department of State. [State Department Photo by Michael Gross]

The Trump White House is continuing its stall and denial program, with its latest entrant, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien releasing a statement in Tuesday's early morning hours. In it, O'Brien claims President Donald Trump was never briefed on the Russian program of paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops, and puts the blame for him not being briefed – a claim debunked by multiple press reports – on the press.


"Over the past several days, the New York Times and other news outlets have reported on allegations regarding our troops in Afghanistan," O'Brien says in his statement, never mentioning Russia.

"While we do not normally discuss such matters, we constantly evaluate intelligence reports and brief the President as necessary. 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."

O'Brien says Trump hasn't been briefed "on the items," while not saying what "the items" are. More importantly, a report from the Associated Press says former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton has said he briefed Trump in March of 2019 on the intelligence showing Russia was offering bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers. And The New York Times reports Trump was briefed in writing back in April.

O'Brien goes on to say, "should the situation warrant action," Trump will be briefed.

So far, top Republicans have been briefed. NATO has been briefed. The UK has been briefed. Top Democrats today will be briefed. But the president, allegedly, has not been briefed, nor are there plans to do so, according to the National Security Advisor.

O'Brien then threatens administration officials about leaking.

"To those government officials who betray the trust of the people of the United States by leaking classified information, your actions endanger our national security. No matter the motivation, there is never a justification for such conduct," he says.

Russia paying terrorists to kill American soldiers is never mentioned.

O'Brien then offers praise for the Commander-in-Chief.

“Let me be clear that there is nothing more important to President Trump than America’s security and the safety of our men and women in uniform. He has demonstrated this commitment time and again.”