Rep. Chris Stewart continued his defense of President Donald Trump, saying he is certain the president was not fully briefed on intelligence that Russia was offering bounties for the killing of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
"The whole premise of this story is that he wouldn't protect our soldiers and he doesn't care about their safety and he somehow is deferring to Vladimir Putin," said Stewart on Fox News. "I think the whole premise of this is nuts. It's so predictable it's clearly designed to weaken or embarrass the president."
Late last week the New York Times reported that Russian intelligence units were offering bounties for Taliban dissidents to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The White House claimed that the president had not been briefed on the information because it was not credible. Several news outlets reported that top White House officials were aware of the bounty program in early 2019 and that the information was included in the presidential daily brief in February of this year.
Stewart said he was not disputing the story that Russia wanted to kill U.S. soldiers, but he felt the media is intentionally misreporting the story to politically damage President Trump.
"People say we need to investigate. We've been investigating it for years. Some of this intelligence is years old. We need to determine if it is actually true. There's contradicting intelligence that says it's not, which is why it was not taken to the president," said Stewart.
Stewart also repeated the talking point that the U.S. has treated Russia harshly during the Trump administration, a claim that Politifact has rated as "mostly false."
"It doesn't take a seventh-grader to look at the last three years of history and to realize this president has been tougher n Russia than any president in generations," said Stewart. "To think this president somehow prefers Vladimir Putin is just nuts."
Watch the clip below via Fox News.