Donald Trump allegedly revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minster Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting last week.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump shared details of intelligence gathered about an Isis threat that had been closely guarded within the United States government and among close US allies.
The report said that while Trump did not describe the specific source used to gather the intelligence, he provided highly classified details, apparently connected to an Isis plot related to the use of laptops on board passenger aircraft.
Top administration officials who attended the meeting swiftly pushed back on the allegations on Monday, saying Trump’s meeting with Lavrov consisted only of broad discussions surrounding counter-terrorism.
“During President Trump’s meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, a broad range of subjects were discussed, among which were common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism,” Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, said.
“During that exchange, the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations.”
HR McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, said the president and Russian foreign minister “reviewed common threats from terrorist organisations to include threats to aviation.”
“At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly,” McMaster said in a statement.
Speaking to reporters later at the White House, McMaster added to his statement by saying: “I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”
However, the original report did not suggest Trump had discussed sources and methods. The allegation is that Trump shared some information about laptops on planes which potentially put a source at risk and was given to the US by an ally who did not give consent for that to be shared with Russia.
After the story broke, the White House did not provide any further specifics on the meeting. US officials also confirmed the Post report to other outlets amid the administration’s denials.
Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, said the report, if true, was “very disturbing.”
“Revealing classified information at this level is extremely dangerous and puts at risk the lives of Americans and those who gather intelligence for our country,” Schumer said in a statement. “The President owes the intelligence community, the American people, and Congress a full explanation.”
Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, called for a full briefing to Congress “on the extent of the damage President Trump has done in compromising highly classified code-word intelligence to the Russians.”
source , theguardian