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Ret. Southern Command Gen. McCaffrey: ‘Impossible’ Trump Didn’t Know Russia Put Hit On Americans

Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey said Monday President Donald Trump’s claim that he wasn’t aware Russia put a hit out on American troops was “simply dumbfounding,” adding that it was “impossible” due to the way intelligence flows through the command structure.

“The attack on U.S. troops normally results in a [National Security Council] determination on what action they’re going to take,” McCaffrey said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “The obvious immediate action would be to go to the Russians and tell them to knock off.”

The New York Times reported June 26 that American intelligence indicated Russia had put a hit out on American troops in Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of several service members at the hands of the Taliban.

Trump said on Twitter Sunday evening that he had not been informed because the intelligence community “did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it.” He added that it was “possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @NyTimesBooks.”

Congressional Republicans demanded over the weekend to know more about the development.

“If reporting about Russian bounties on US forces is true, the White House must explain” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) wrote in a June 28 tweet. “Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the PDB? Who did know and when? What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?”

McCaffrey, who served as leader of U.S. Southern Command, said he would like to know who in Congress and the national security apparatus was informed, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and added that he thought Trump had tried to ignore the issue because he wanted Russian President Vladimir Putin to participate in the next Group of 8 summit. Putin was expelled from the group of leading industrial nations in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea.

“When people target U.S. Combat forces we normally try and kill them,” McCaffrey said. “I think the other thing … there’s tons of offset measures we could take in national security to push back on this. It doesn’t make any sense. I think poor Mr. Trump either didn’t know because they were afraid to tell him, which I don’t believe, I think he knew full well what was going on, he didn’t want to jeopardize his angle at getting Mr. Putin back into the G7, G8, it’s a shameful failure of leadership by our president.”

Watch above via MSNBC.

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