So, did the president know about and fail to act on this intelligence, or did his staff conceal it from him? I don't really care; either answer should disqualify them from continuing to work in the White House:
United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter.
The crucial information that led the spies and commandos to focus on the bounties included the recovery of a large amount of American cash from a raid on a Taliban outpost that prompted suspicions. Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019, another official has said.
The emerging details added to the picture of the classified intelligence assessment, which The New York Times reported on Friday was briefed to President Trump and discussed by the White House’s National Security Council at an interagency meeting in late March. The Trump administration had yet to act against the Russians, the officials said.
Mr. Trump defended himself on Sunday by denying that he had been briefed on the intelligence, expanding on a similar White House rebuttal a day earlier, as leading congressional Democrats and even some Republicans demanded a response to Russia that the administration had yet to authorize.
Read that last graf again: the president responded not by demanding Russia stop the practice, not by sending his flaccid Secretary of State to excoriate Putin in person, not by doing anything that a normal person would do in this situation. No, the president flatly lied that he just didn't know about the contents of his daily intelligence brief. I guess he didn't want to risk offending his KGB case officer.
Remember back in 2015 and 2016 when we worried a lot about Russia's influence over Trump? This is not something I wanted to be correct about, but the evidence is pretty damning.