Jim Banks on Russian bounty report: Nancy Pelosi is attacking ‘career intelligence officers’

Banks said that it “must be recognized” when a president made a decision based on “bad intelligence,” there will be “severe consequences.”

“At the end of the day, we have to allow our intelligence officials to do their job, Trust the men and women who serve to protect America every day and the intelligence community. They made this call. Not appointed political officers in the administration.”

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Banks’ comments came after Pelosi and the very best bipartisan congressional leaders, known as the Gang of Eight, received a classified briefing Thursday on reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan, which was first revealed by the New York Times.

The intelligence assessment reached the White House, the president’s written daily brief and the National Security Council and was even shared with the British government since its troops were also targeted, the newspaper reported. When asked Thursday if the Gang of Eight had also been briefed, Pelosi said they should have now been.

“I didn’t know about it,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference at the Capitol. “But I will say this: It was of a consequential level that the intelligence community should have brought it to us in that way.”

Pelosi also slammed President Trump for perhaps not reading his presidential daily brief, that the Times reported included information on Russian bounty plot back in February, and said Trump needs to have also received a verbal briefing on the intelligence.

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“As the White House was aware of the threat to the security of our men and women in uniform, the president was still flirting with the idea of having Russia be part of the G8,” Pelosi said, discussing Trump’s efforts to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the summit of world leaders.

Banks said that the Russian bounty story is “retracting” to the Russian-Trump collusion “hoax.” Banks said that the left and the New York Times are attacking Trump because “he didn’t know anything about it.”

“This story is getting really confusing at this point. It was published a week ago in the New York Times and at that point, the left in collusion with the New York Times were attacking President Trump because somehow, he was turning a blind eye to these bounties on our troops because he was cozying up to Russia and Putin,” Banks said.

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Banks went on to state, “The fact of the matter is because a leaker went to the New York Times and they published this ongoing intelligence of these possible bounties, now we might not ever be able to know the truth and hold those accountable for those bounties if the intelligence does check out that it was true.”

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