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White House officials feared telling Trump about Russian bounties for one disturbing reason

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A barrage of conflicting reports has followed bombshell revelations that President Donald Trump was briefed on Russia offering bounties for killing U.S. troops, and doing nothing in response.

Senior White House officials have reportedly known about the bounties since early 2019, and former national security adviser John Bolton allegedly told the president around that same time, and another report quoted sources who say the issue was included in his daily briefing Feb. 27, 2020 — but additional sources told The Daily Beast the confusion points to a fundamental problem.

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“But the problem is not just a matter of dissembling, according to several sources,” The Daily Beast reported, “it’s a matter of Trump not wanting to know about intelligence outside his comfort zone, and the reluctance of officials to push information on him they know he will resist, especially if their conclusions are less than clear-cut. Those may go into a PDB, but not get mentioned in a face to face briefing.”

Any intelligence coming out of Afghanistan is going to be complicated, with shifting alliances between competing factions, and taken with a grain of salt, but sources said the intelligence circulating on the bounties was believed to be credible and most certainly would have been included in at least one PDB.

“But the source noted that the chances that Trump would have read that by himself are ‘basically zero,'” the source told The Daily Beast.

“Although intelligence officials regularly brief presidents about sensitive matters they are not always 100 percent confident about,” the website reported, “top officials in that space and in the national security community have chosen several times to avoid briefing President Trump, two current and two former senior officials involved in the briefing process [said].”

Officials said staffers are especially reluctant to bring troubling information about Russia to the president, in part because they’re afraid he’ll tweet about it.

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“Trump has little patience for intelligence briefings, especially when the news isn’t good for him,” one former official said. “These briefings happen irregularly, and are often free-for-alls. He also shows little respect for classified information and might tweet about it — which would in counter to efforts to handle the issue out of the public eye.”

One source with direct knowledge said Trump reflexively questioned the New York Times story breaking the bounty news, because he perceives the newspaper as critical of him, and then he re-emphasized his desire to pull U.S. forces out of Afghanistan before November.

“Why are we still there?” Trump fumed behind closed doors, that source told The Daily Beast.

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One source close to the White House said the president is eager to bring troops home from Afghanistan as a political stunt aimed at shoring up his base.

“The polling on this is overwhelming — it’s consistently 70-30 in favor of getting out, and cuts across party lines,” that source said. “But the core MAGA base in places like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania would be particularly excited by this.”

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One federal agency was suing him for fraud — while another paid his company millions for masks

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Desperate to acquire masks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, two federal agencies gave nearly $20 million in contracts to a newly formed California company without realizing it was partly run by a man whose business activities were under sanction by the Federal Trade Commission, court records show.

On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court judge froze the company’s assets, most of which had come from the Department of Veterans Affairs in a $5.4 million mask deal. A story by ProPublica revealed Jason Cardiff’s role in operating VPL Medical LLC in June.

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2020 Election

‘Connect the dots’: Local expert says Trump’s Tulsa rally ‘likely contributed’ to surge in virus

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While a lot of bombshell stories in the Trump era have been unpredictable, this one was not. Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Bruce Dart said on Wednesday that the president's recent rally in the city "likely contributed" to the surging outbreak of COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.

“In the past few days, we’ve seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several large events just over two weeks ago, so I guess we just connect the dots,” he said.

The president's campaign had hyped that more than 1 million people had expressed interest in attending the event; in the end, only about 6,000 people reportedly attended the indoor arena that could seat nearly 20,000. Despite the lackluster showing, the crowd was more than large enough to spread the virus and result in many new infections.

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In a secluded region in Russia’s Arctic they are rejecting Putin in rare protest

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Lyudmila Laptander, an activist advocating autonomy for her mineral-rich Nenets region in the Russian Arctic, worries authorities are planning to sacrifice its traditions for the promise of economic enrichment.

"If Nenets is merged with another region, I worry that no one will look after our language or our traditions, and that our small villages in the tundra will be forgotten," said Laptander, 61, a member of the Yasavey cultural group.

The autonomous region on the edge of the Arctic Ocean was gripped by protests in May against the government's plans to integrate it with neighbouring Arkhangelsk.

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