Rob Portman called on the White House to give a precise account of what President Trump told Russian officials during their Oval Office meeting last week and called on the Senate intelligence committee to probe reports that he may have disclosed highly classified intelligence. Although top aides on Monday had declared reports about Trump's discussions false, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday sought instead to downplay the significance of the information Trump revealed. He used the words "wholly appropriate" nine separate times.
Trump himself claimed the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so.
"What we don't do is discuss what is what isn't classified", he said.
Three White House officials who were in the May 10 meeting strongly denounced the Post story, saying no intelligence sources and methods were discussed - but they didn't deny that classified information was disclosed. It was, perhaps, even more remarkable that Trump chose to confide in representatives of an adversary, who could use the information to find its source.
Donald Trump has been accused of sharing "highly classified" information with the Russian foreign minister and the countrys ambassador here during a White House meeting last week, but the defiant USA president asserted today that he has an "absolute right" to do so. "It's nonsense", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Of course, the US has had problematic intelligence situations with the rest of the world.
"Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of State, remember the meeting the same way and have said so".
The U.S. and Western officials spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive information.
Many lawmakers-Democrats and Republicans alike-expressed deep concern about the incident.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California called the story "deeply disturbing" and said if it's true, the disclosure could jeopardize sources of very sensitive intelligence and relationships with key allies.
Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to address the controversy, writing that he had "the absolute right" to share "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety". "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russian Federation to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism", Trump wrote.
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Later Tuesday, Trump told reporters he'd had a "very, very successful meeting" with Lavrov. He promised that "we're going to have a lot of great success over the next coming years" in the fight against IS "and we want to get as many to help fight terrorism as possible".
According to the Post, Trump revealed highly classified details of an ISIS terror threat during a meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Moscow's ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak. By doing so, Trump would have jeopardized co-operation from an ally familiar with the inner workings of the Islamic State group, and make other allies - or even US intelligence officials - wary about sharing future top secret details with the president.
Trump later was informed that he had broken protocol and White House officials placed calls to the National Security Agency and the CIA looking to minimize any damage.
Asked why the NSA and Central Intelligence Agency were put on notice if the revelations were not problematic, McMaster cast the notification as being provided "from an overabundance of caution".
The disclosure included information that could jeopardize "a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State", including the source's location and other identifying details, The Post reported.
The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment Monday evening. He added that he wants the House intelligence committee fully briefed on what, if anything, was shared with the Russian officials. "I have people brief me on great intel every day", he said.
"The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation", McMaster told The Post. "At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly".
The turmoil has overshadowed Republican legislative priorities such as healthcare and tax reform and laid bare sharp divisions between the White House and US intelligence agencies, which concluded in January that Russian Federation had tried to influence the election in Trump's favor. He's openly questioned the competency of intelligence officials and challenged their high-confidence assessment that Russian Federation meddled in last year's presidential election to help him win.
The NSA was also at the heart of the Edward Snowden drama, which revealed the U.S.to be spying on world leaders, including close allies.
Trump sacked FBI Director James Comey last week, admitting that "this Russian Federation thing" was on his mind when he made the decision. Trump spent the campaign arguing that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should be locked up for careless handling of classified information.