Trump shared classified IS info with Russia

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President Donald Trump shared highly classified information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when they met last week, according to a media report. reports citing Anadolu news agency.

Trump shared information that jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the ISIS terror group, the Washington Post reported late Monday.

The U.S. president met Lavrov and Moscow's Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on May 10, a day after Trump fired FBI Directpr James Comey – a surprise move that sent shockwaves through Washington.

The newspaper story said the intelligence Trump shared concerned a ISIS threat abiout how to make laptop bombs that prompted the U.S. and the U.K. in March to ban electronic devices in cabins on flights from Muslim-majority countries.

The Post quoted a senior U.S. officials as calling the intelligence "code-word information" -- referring to one of the highest classification levels used in the American intelligence community.

Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies", the official said.

“It is all kind of shocking,” a former senior U.S. official, who is close to current administration officials, told the Washington Post. “Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”

According to the Post, Trump appeared to boast about the "great intel" he receives from his aides. "I have people brief me on great intel every day,” Trump reportedly said.

White House officials tried to push back on the claims in a hastily arranged press conference shortly after the story was published

"The story that came out tonight as reported is false,” said National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster.

"At no time were intelligence sources or methods were discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known,” he said. "I was in the room. It didn't happen," McMaster added without taking any questions.

A statement by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was at the White House meeting Trump's held with Russian officials, said "the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations".

Washington Post reporter Greg Miller, who co-wrote the story, accused the White House of "playing word games" in an interview with CNN.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal called the White House response a "non-denial" and that Trump "owes the American people an explanation.

"Truth needs to be uncovered and anyone responsible for this violation of the norms if not the law, of intelligence has to be held accountable," he told CNN.

The president has broad authority to declassify documents and information, which means Trump likely did not violate the law.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker said the White House is "in a downward spiral".

"They are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening," Corker told reporters.

The timing of Trump's decision to fire FBI chief Comey -- amid an ongoing bureau investigation into whether Trump campaign associates colluded with Russia in last year's election -- has prompted many, including some from within his own party, to question his rationale.

Trump said he made the decision based on the recommendation of the Justice Department. The president asserts in his dismissal letter that the former FBI director assured him he was not under investigation "on three separate occasions".

Two days after Comey was fired, FBI acting Director Andrew McCabe said the bureau would no longer inform the White House about the probe.

2017.05.16 / 09:12
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