John Cornyn Defends Trump Over Allegations He Ignored Intel on Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops

"What? Me question the president?" Cornyn speaks during an appearance at the conservative CPAC conference. - GAGE SKIDMORE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons
"What? Me question the president?" Cornyn speaks during an appearance at the conservative CPAC conference.
As outrage builds that President Donald Trump may have ignored intelligence reports about Russia offering bounties to Afghan militants to kill U.S. troops, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas has again gone to bat for the prez.

In a Tuesday story from the Washington Post, Cornyn sought to deflect from Trump on the controversy, saying the president's a busy guy who probably just forgot. After all, the president gets briefed all the time, right?

Instead, the three-term Republican argued, we all should be more worried someone's leaking classified intel.

“Well, I think the president can’t single-handedly remember everything, I’m sure, that he’s briefed on, but the intelligence officials are familiar with it and briefed him,” said Cornyn, who faces reelection in November. “But again somebody’s leaking classified information and then trying to further a narrative that isn’t necessarily supported by the facts.”

Cornyn's defense of Trump comes a day after he tried to downplay news of the bounties altogether.

“I don’t think it’s should be a surprise to anybody that the Taliban’s been trying to kill Americans and that the Russians have been encouraging that, if not providing means to make that happen,” he told reporters Monday.

The comments fit a pattern for Cornyn, who's emerged as one of Trump's most steadfast Senate defenders. After starting his Washington career as a conventional Chamber of Commerce Republican, he's morphed into a consistent salesman for the president's #MAGA agenda.

Former Air Force pilot MJ Hegar, one of two Democrats vying to run against Cornyn in November, shamed the senator on Twitter, saying he'd downplayed the deaths of U.S. soldiers.

"I know you didn't serve @JohnCornyn, but I medevaced wounded troops, and not all of them made it," she tweeted. "Shame on you."

In an emailed statement, Texas Democratic Party spokesman Billy Begala said Cornyn's unwillingness to call out the president on the latest controversy is an insult to the tens of thousands of military personnel stationed in Texas.

"Over his 18 years in the Senate, Cornyn has proven he will bend over backward for his most powerful DC allies at the expense of the Texans he claims to represent," Begala said. "Texans have had enough."

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