President Donald Trump likely did deserve to know that there were intelligence reports indicating Russia was paying bounty money to Taliban soldiers for the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, even if the details weren't actionable, Rep. Michael McCaul said Thursday.
"What you have is threads of intelligence coming in that the Russians were putting out bounties," said the Texas Republican on Fox News' "America's Newsroom."
"They did work with the Taliban to defeat ISIS, not to kill American troops, (if true) this would be significant."
The information started coming in 2019, after Marines captured detainees during a raid, but another intelligence agency – McCaul would not comment on the identities of the agencies – had a dissenting view.
"So when you have a diversion or different point of view within the IC itself, the briefer really has the discretion, in this case a career intelligence officer had the discretion to rise it to the level of the president or not," said McCaul. "If it has a low degree of confidence, and at that point, it may not be actionable intelligence, I can see why they would choose not to brief the president."
However, after examining the matter, McCaul said he does think Trump deserved to know, mainly because of the timing of the pending peace deal with the Taliban, literally two days after the daily briefing arrived.
McCaul, who is also a member of the House's China Task Force, also commented Thursday on a new report on the origins of COVID-19, in which it was showed that China had enough information to warrant a full public health response as early as December 2019, but instead engaged in a coverup about the virus.
McCaul said the House task force report, released last month, reads like an indictment on the Chinese.
"They detained all these doctors in the beginning who were trying to tell the truth," he said, but the World Health Organization got "completely duped" by President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus parroted the lie that the disease was not spread by human-to-human transmission.
"I think China is responsible, the Chinese Party is responsible, and they need to be held accountable," McCaul said.
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