Trump pushed CIA to share intelligence with Russia, while Kremlin paid bounties

In the wake of the Russian bounty scandal, a new report from JustSecurity.org asserts that a reason the Russian government thought it could get away with paying bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers, was because Trump’s actions in the face of the Russia-Taliban arms program likely signaled a weak US resolve in the eyes of Putin and Russian military intelligence.

According to the report, which was sourced from several former Trump  administration intelligence officials, the administration’s failure to address Russia’s furnishing of weapons to the Taliban, coupled with Trump’s “embrace” of Putin, may have set the stage for Kremlin officials to green-light the bounty operation.

The Pentagon was confident in early 2018 that the Russians were placing U.S. troops in increased danger by arming Taliban militants. In response, Trump didn’t just refuse to confront Putin, he “undercut” U.S. officials who raised public concerns and “overtly and repeatedly” embraced Putin.

Then, “behind the scenes,” former intelligence officials said the president “directed the CIA to share intelligence information on counterterrorism with the Kremlin despite no discernible reward.”

“There was a consistent push for CT cooperation with Moscow, coming from the White House, despite near universal belief within the IC that this effort would be one sided and end up being a waste of time and energy,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, who retired in mid-2019 from the Senior Intelligence Service at the CIA.

Trump has repeatedly decried the Russian bounty scandal as a "hoax".

And claimed he never knew about the intel.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is holding a hearing on Thursday titled, “Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops: Why Hasn’t the Administration Responded?” The witnesses will include Gen. John Nicholson, Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan and NATO’s Resolute Support Mission, and former Acting CIA Director Mike Morrell.