WH officials defend Russia bounty intel response

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says President Donald Trump has faith in his National Security adviser and the intelligence community's handling of assessments that Russia offered bounties for killing US troops in Afghanistan. (July 1)

Video Transcript

KAYLEIGH MCENANY: No, the president believes that and has great faith in Ambassador O'Brien and the others who made the decision that this shouldn't be risen to his desk. It was a career CIA officer with more than 30 years' tenure who made the decision not to brief it up, and the national security advisor agreed with that decision. She's an excellent officer and does great work, and made the decision not to brief it up. It was the right decision to make, and at this moment, as I speak to you, it is still unverified.

- Are you preparing some options for the president to consider for retaliation against Russia should this intelligence prove to be true?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY: You know, I won't get ahead of the president on action. I also won't get ahead of the intelligence, which at this moment is unverified.

- Does the president want this intelligence to be corroborated or not? Or, I mean, what has he told his advisors on this front?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY: The president, it's unverified. It's being assessed. It's going through the same process normal intelligence would go through. But what's unfortunate is we're having this discussion because of "The New York Times" deciding to run with this in-- erroneous information about the president being briefed, which was not true, and the erroneous information that there is a conclusion when in fact there was not a conclusion.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: What does the president have to say to military service-- the families of service members who are really afraid that their loved ones might have been killed in connection to this Russia bounty? There are families already saying, we want the United States and federal government to call us and settle this up. Kristen had an interview with a father saying that just this week. What is this president's message to the military families in this country?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY: So, that it's unverified intelligence. It's continually being assessed. And the Department of Defense has said they do not know of any Americans that have been killed in relation to this unverified intelligence that's currently being assessed.