President Trump has faulted the reports that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.
According to Trump’s national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, options had been drawn up to present to Trump on how to respond if the allegations were corroborated.
While disclosing this during a television interview on Wednesday July 1, 2020, O’Brien stated that national security officials decided not to present Trump with unverified intelligence regarding Russia’s purported plans.
He added that they took the situation seriously enough to prepare options for the president.
“If this eventually becomes something that’s proven, or something that we believe, we need to have options for the president to deal with the Russians,” O’Brien said.
“I can tell you this: If this information turned out to be true, and now we may never know, but if it turned out to be true, we had options ready to go, and the president was ready to take strong action, as he always is," he added.
It was gathered that White House officials were first informed in early 2019 of intelligence reports that Russia was offering bounties for the killing of U.S. and coalition military personnel, but the information was deemed sketchy and in need of additional confirmation, according to people familiar with the matter.