Trump Admits Sharing Terrorism Intel With Russia: ‘I Have the Absolute Right’

POTUS tweet doesn’t mention if information was classified

Last Updated: May 16, 2017 @ 5:17 AM

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to say he had the right to share “facts” with Russia but did not address reports that the information was classified.

The Washington Post on Monday reported that Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials during a White House meeting last week. The information, which was provided by a U.S. partner, was apparently so sensitive, some details have been withheld from allies and restricted even within the U.S. government.

The Post quoted former and current U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State,” and the story was quickly matched by a variety of news organizations.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster dismissed the report, calling it “false.”

“The story that came out tonight as reported is false,” McMaster told reporters in a brief statement from the White House. “I was in the room, it didn’t happen.”

Last week’s meeting, which included Trump, Russia’s ambassador Sergei Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, was closed to the media except for a Russian photographer. Photos from the meeting sparked a media firestorm after they were published by Russian state media.

The Post reports that Trump’s disclosure could have severe consequences because the partner who passed on the intel did not give the U.S. permission to share the material with Russia. Officials quoted in the story said Trump’s decision to reveal it to the Russians “endangers” cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.

“This is code-word information,” a U.S. official familiar with the matter told the Post, referring to one of the highest classification levels used by American intelligence agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”