President Trump and the Russians... again

 The Washington Post reported Monday (May 15th) that President Trump revealed highly classified information about ISIS to the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during his Oval Office meeting with them last week. Other news organizations, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, later confirmed the report. Three administration officials who were also in the meeting last Wednesday (May 10th) rejected the story, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who told reporters outside the White House yesterday that no intelligence "sources and methods" or military operations were disclosed. However, the story reported that classified information was revealed, not specifically "sources and methods," and the officials didn't refer to classified information in their denials.

The Post, citing current and former U.S. officials, reported that Trump said to his Russian visitors, "I get great intel," before revealing details about an ISIS terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on planes. The information reportedly had been provided by a U.S. partner via intelligence-sharing, and was considered so sensitive that details had been withheld from allies and tightly restricted within the U.S. government. The story said the U.S. partner didn't give permission to share the information with Russian officials, and Trump doing so could jeopardize future cooperation from that partner, and make other allies wary about sharing top secret information with us.

Democratic lawmakers spoke out strongly about the report, and some Republicans also expressed concern. However, some in the GOP noted that, as president, Trump has broad authority to declassify information. Trump denounced Hillary Clinton repeatedly during the presidential campaign over her handling of classified information, which was the focus of the FBI's investigation of her emails.

 

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