President Donald Trump appeared to confirm a Washington Post report that he disclosed highly classified intelligence with Russian officials, writing on Twitter Tuesday morning that he “wanted to share with Russia.”
“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” Trump tweeted. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
Current and former anonymous US officials told The Post that Trump’s disclosures to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak jeopardized a key source of intelligence about the Islamic State terror group, as the source had not given the US permission to share the intelligence with Russia.
Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies,” one official told The Post.
Trump’s statement seems to contradict previous White House denials of The Post’s story.
White House officials Monday night pushed back against the report, with Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell saying bluntly the “story is false.”
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster — who was part of the meeting with the Russian officials — also came out against the report.
“There is nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people,” McMaster said in a televised statement. “The story that came out tonight as reported is false.”
“I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” McMaster said.
Russia also denied reports that Trump revealed classified information, according to the Associated Press. Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, described the reports on Facebook as “yet another fake.”
As Trump notes in his tweet, the president does have the right to declassify information and share classified information.
Via Peter Jacobs, Business Insider
Allan Smith contributed to this report.