What’s still not clear even now is whether the Trump administration took any action in response to the Russian program. While Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin exchanged a flurry of phone calls in the last days of March and first weeks of April, it is not known whether the topic came up. It seems implausible to believe that any action in response to the Russian program targeting U.S. troops would have taken place without briefing the United States “president” and gaining his direct authorization.
But the administration is continuing to insist, loudly and almost certainly falsely, that Donald Trump and Mike Pence themselves were never told of the Russia program. While a Post source suggests that officials were not “withholding” the information from Trump but merely wanted to be “absolutely sure” the intelligence was valid, that excuse, too, would suggest that U.S. intelligence officials told British counterparts of the plot before they told Trump himself—and in fact did not tell Trump until news of the program was leaked to the U.S. and British press.