Stewart backs White House claim that Trump did not know about Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers

20200629 Stewart CNN

Rep. Chris Stewart defended the White House’s claim that President Trump was not briefed on a reported Russian effort offering bounties for the killing of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. However, shortly after Stewart made his claim on national TV, the New York Times reported that Trump was given a written briefing on the Russian bounties in late February. 

Stewart, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was part of a small group of Republicans friendly to the Trump administration summoned for a briefing on the issue. Stewart told CNN’s Chris Cuomo he has no reason to doubt the White House’s story.

“I’m certain that’s true. They’ve been very clear. Everyone around him has been very clear they did not brief this to the President or the Vice President,” said Stewart. 

Top Democrats in the House and Senate demanded that the White House brief all members of Congress on the matter. 

The Times reported Monday that the intelligence about the Russian plot to offer cash rewards to Taliban fighters who killed American soldiers was included in the President’s Daily Brief document in late February, with one source specifically saying it was February 27.

Stewart told Cuomo that he doubted the intelligence was credible enough for inclusion in the President’s Daily Brief. 

“The actual daily brief might be 40, 50, 60 pages. And that’s on a daily basis. From that, once or twice a week, maybe more often if necessary, they’ll take the most urgent, most credible and they will brief the president on those things,” he said.

“No president sits down and reads the entire daily brief every day. It’s just too much. No president has ever claimed to do that” he added. 

Watch the clip below via CNN: