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McCaskill Torches Trump on Russia Bounty Claims: ‘This Makes Benghazi Look Like Playing With Toys’

Former Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill torched President Donald Trump over his weekend tweetstorms and apparent indifference about the stunning reports that Russia has been funding a bounty program to encourage Taliban-linked militias to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, McCaskill and host Nicolle Wallace took turns throwing rhetorical body blows at the president. The pair were reacting to the blockbuster news, which multiple media organizations reported over the weekend, that Trump had been informed months ago about a Russian military intelligence program to fund bounties for killing American fighting in Afghanistan, but had taken no action in response. Trump has since denied being informed of the program, which reportedly involved the death of at least one U.S. servicemember, claiming that the “intel wasn’t credible.” These White House denials have been met with disbelief and outrage.

“At 1:00 this afternoon, the president’s press representative said he still hadn’t been briefed,” an incensed McCaskill said, alluding to a claim by Kayleigh McEnany that Trump was still in the dark because the intelligence community had “no consensus” on the reports. “Now, let that sink in. He’s been playing golf. He’s been tweeting stuff, But he hasn’t said, ‘Hey, I need to get to the bottom of this. This is really important. Our enemy, Russia, is putting a price on the heads of our military.'”

“Now let’s think about what’s going on this afternoon in addition to that. They’re doing a bring at the White House for Republicans only. That is unheard of at moments like this,” McCaskill noted. “It’s the United States of America and one of the few places that we’ve managed to keep it united is support for our troops. This should be a bipartisan briefing of _ if you don’t want the whole senate, it should certainly be the Intelligence Committee, with [CIA Director] Gina Haskell answering questions. It should certainly be the Armed Services Committee with [Defense Secretary Mark] Esper answering questions. It should certainly be the Foreign Relations Committee with [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo answering questions. And it should be Republicans and Democrats. But the notion that they are asking the Republicans to run up to the White House to get their political instructions, to learn how to lie for this president at a moment that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has the price on the heads of our military in Afghanistan. This is a scandal — I mean, they wanted to make a big deal about Benghazi? This makes Benghazi look like playing with toys. This is a big deal and they are not treating it like it’s a big deal.”

“Ukrainians died while Donald Trump was diddling around with their military assistance that Congress approved, Republicans approved. They say nothing. Dead Ukrainians didn’t move them,” Wallace said. “Now you have dead American soldiers and Republicans say nothing. What is the — when do you cease to be a party if you say nothing and what’s next?”

“And don’t forget that Trump stood up next to Putin in Helsinki and said ‘I believe him instead of our own intelligence community,” McCaskill noted, referencing the barrage of Tweets Trump unleashed this past weekend, including a batch of bizarre, pseudo “Wanted” posters of statue vandals. “This is a repeat of Ukraine. There is someone in the intelligence community that is so upset about this that knows what’s going on that has leaked this because they are so worried about our troops and realize this president doesn’t care. He cares more about a stupid tweet then he cares about the lives of Americans risking their lives for us in Afghanistan against the Taliban. So this is really what’s going on here. This is a repeat.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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