President Donald Trump’s national security adviser again asserted that Trump didn’t jeopardize U.S. national security by sharing intelligence with Russian diplomats, and said the conversation in the Oval Office last week was “wholly appropriate.”
McMaster told reporters at a White House briefing on Tuesday; “I stand by my statement that I made yesterday,” “What I’m saying is that the premise of that article was false.”
On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Trump revealed to Russia’s foreign minister and U.S. ambassador highly classified details from a U.S. intelligence partner about an Islamic State plot. The “story that came out tonight as reported is false,” McMaster said on Monday at a hastily arranged appearance outside the White House that lasted less than a minute.
“At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known,” he said. The Post story, however, didn’t allege that Trump revealed sources or methods, nor did it say he disclosed military operations.
McMaster said on Tuesday that “what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate for that conversation.”
“I’m not concerned at all” that U.S. allies might stop sharing intelligence after Trump’s disclosure, he added. He refused to describe what Trump told the Russian diplomats, or acknowledge that classified information was shared with them.Trump on Tuesday claimed an “absolute right” to share information about terrorism with Russian officials, even as some lawmakers in both parties expressed alarm over the reports.
“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 said in a series of tweets on Tuesday. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
According to the Post, the intelligence, involving information about an Islamic State plot to use laptop computers as possible weapons aboard commercial aircraft, had been provided by a U.S. ally with access to the inner workings of the terrorist group. The Post said the level of detail Trump disclosed may enable the Russians to identify the source or method of gathering the information.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Tuesday, advised that people should read American newspapers, in response to U.S media reports about Trump meeting with Russian officials.
Maria Zakharova, said she had received dozens of messages asking about the reports, which have been denied by the White House.
“Guys, have you been reading American newspapers again?” she wrote on her Facebook page. “You shouldn’t read them. You can put them to various uses, but you shouldn’t read them. Lately it’s become not only harmful, but dangerous too.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dimitry Peskov, also continued to insist that the story of Trump sharing classified intelligence with Russian officials was “nonsense,” .
CNN spoke to Peskov after Trump’s tweets, pointing out that the US President himself was saying he had “wanted to share with Russia.”
CNN: “Do you still stand by your statement that this is ‘nonsense’?”
Peskov: “We don’t want to comment on nonsense fakes.”
CNN: “So you deny Trump shared classified information with (Foreign Minister Sergey) Lavrov and (Ambassador Sergey) Kislyak? Even though in Trump’s own tweet he essentially admits that? In addition, given all this, wouldn’t the Kremlin prefer a more predictable partner in the White House?”
Peskov: “I think we’ve said more than enough on this.”
Trump has also defended himself, saying he has absolute right to do this. His tweets below..
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