It has been reported that Russia offered a bounty on American troops in Afghanistan. As usual, the White House is doing its dance of deny, deflect and delay in reaction to this explosive accusation.
At first they denied they were informed of this action. Then they attempted to deflect from the issue with a racist video. And finally, there was the “we are looking into it” tactic meant to delay a response.
The question remains, what did he know and when did he know it?
In yet another display of Executive incompetence, Trump at first denied being briefed about the bounty on American soldiers because the information was deemed “not credible”. Instead he tweeted that the report was “Fake News” aimed at hurting Republicans. Evidence to the contrary is emerging that Trump did receive the information in an intelligence briefing as far back and last year.
It comes as no suprise that Trump claims not to have heard about the actions of Russia. In his book The Room Where it Happened, former National Security Advisor John Bolton states that intelligence briefings were a waste of time “since much of the time was spent listening to Trump, rather than Trump listening to the briefers." This is the way of life in this administration.
Could this be the breaking point with Republicans in Congress?
During the sham impeachment trial Republicans admitted they feared retribution if they went against Trump during that process. Trump continues to have enormous support amongst registered Republicans, so they're afraid of crossing him for fear of losing GOP voter support. Even as the information is being revealed, some Republicans are refusing to blame Trump and instead are blaming The New York Times. They are calling the reporting “a hit piece” aimed at damaging Trump’s re-election bid.
But cracks in this support are showing. After being briefed about the Russian bounty issue; a briefing that included zero Democrats; some exited the meeting demanding action despite Trump’s history of refusing to hold Russia accountable.
The cracks appeared earlier as Republicans, even #MoscowMitch, broke ranks on the issue of face masks. Seeing the pandemic once again threatening to spiral out of control, they urged everyone to wear a mask in public -- in direct contradiction to Trump’s stated stance that masks are unnecessary.
Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of Trump's once impenetrable wall of support. Perhaps a mutiny over the bounty is on the horizon.