Trump officials defend response to Russia bounty threat

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is stepping up the defense of its response to intelligence assessments that suggested Russia had offered bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The president’s national security adviser said on Wednesday that he had prepared a list of retaliatory options if the intelligence had been corroborated.  President Donald Trump continued to play down the assessments and insist he wasn’t briefed on the matter because the intelligence didn’t rise to his level. However, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said that the CIA and Pentagon did pursue the lead and briefed international allies.