Donald Trump on Wednesday called reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan a ‘hoax’ even as his national security adviser admitted the information was in the president’s briefing but not given to him.

The president blasted The New York Times, which originally reported that Russia was paying Taliban militants bounties to kill U.S. service members.

‘The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party. The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited @nytimes has a source, reveal it. Just another HOAX!,’ Trump tweeted.

Officials in the administration have not disputed the existence of the intelligence report but have said it was not verified and that was why it was not presented to President Trump.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told ‘Fox & Friends’ on Wednesday morning the president wasn’t briefed because the allegation against Russia was ‘uncorroborated.’

But he also acknowledged the allegation was in Trump’s briefing material – but the briefer didn’t tell the president about it.

‘The president’s career CIA briefer decided not to brief him because it was unverified intelligence and, by the way, she’s an outstanding officer and – in knowing all the facts I know – I certainly support her decision,’ he said.

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