Ever since President Joe Biden took office in January, a growing number of the claims, promises, and criticisms he and his surrogates employed during the 2020 campaign have been revealed as misleading at best and outright dishonest at worst, and now another of those highly-publicized assertions from last year has just been outed as false.
In a turn of events that is particularly humiliating for House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), previous reports that the Russian government placed bounties on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan – claims he touted as evidence of former President Donald Trump’s deference to Vladimir Putin – have now been debunked by none other than the Biden administration itself, as the Daily Caller reports.
During the presidential campaign last year, then-candidate Biden accepted as fact the claim that Russia had been providing payments to members of the Taliban to kill U.S. service members in Afghanistan, using it as a cudgel against the sitting president. When questioned on the subject during an October debate with Trump, Biden said, “I don’t understand why this president is unwilling to take on Putin when he’s actually paying bounties to kill American soldiers,” as NBC News noted.
The story, first raised by the New York Times last summer, caused a significant partisan uproar at the time, prompting Trump at the time to denounce it as “just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party,” adding that intelligence officials had reached “no consensus” on the claims, according to Fox News. A senior official told the outlet last summer that the claim was founded on “several streams of intelligence of concern,” including reports that were in some parts contradictory and subject to interpretation.
Schiff, however, was among those on the left who immediately piled on then-President Trump, accepting the unverified allegation as truth that Republicans were unwilling to confront Putin about something that placed American troops “in danger,” later tweeting, “Americans are outraged by reports that Russia offered bounties on U.S. troops. The only American who isn’t? Donald Trump. Trump is again taking the Kremlin’s side and calling it a hoax.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) also jumped at the chance to slam Trump over the spurious bounty allegations last summer, tweeting, “Now I get why @realDonaldTrump won’t stand up to Putin for bounties on our troops. Does Trump act as a Russia agent? Yes. But, Trump also thinks any US troops killed by Russia bounties are suckers” or “losers.” He hasn’t defended them. He never will.”
However, on Thursday, a senior official inside the Biden administration admitted that the intelligence community had just “low to moderate” confidence in the premise underlying the bounty story, indicating that it remains unproven and may indeed be entirely false, Fox News added.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether the current president has regrets about raising the issue so forcefully against Trump last year, merely replying that she would not “speak to the previous administration,” but argued that there had been “enough concern” at the time for intelligence officials to “truly look into it.”
Given Schiff’s unwavering prior dedication to wholly unsupported allegations of Trump–Russia collusion, of which he claimed to have seen “ample evidence…in plain sight,” it should probably come as no surprise that he was fully on board with spreading the bounty falsehood as well. Unfortunately, shame or remorse about repeatedly lying to the American people simply isn’t part of the Democrats’ modus operandi, especially when Donald Trump is involved.