In the aftermath of the WaPo story accusing Trump of improperly sharing highly confidential information with Russia's foreign minister Peskov during their meeting one week ago (and one day after the firing of James Comey), Donald Trump took to Twitter to defend his Russia comments amid mounting criticism he may either have broken the law or acted inappropriately in divulging secret information.
In two tweets, Trump said "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. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism."
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....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2017
...to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2017
According to the WaPo and other media, all citing unnamed sources, Trump allegedly revealed “code-word information” related to threats from ISIS in Iraq and Syria that had been provided by a U.S. ally in the region, supposedly Israel. One official told The Post that the information was so sensitive it had not been provided to U.S. allies.
On Monday afternoon, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster defended Trump's disclosure saying "there is nothing that the President takes more seriously than the security of the American people" and added that "the story that came out tonight as reported is false... I was in the room it didn't happen."
"The president the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of State, remembered the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources."
Russia also reacted this morning, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling that “we don’t want anything to do with this nonsense,” in response to question on report that U.S. President Donald Trump disclosed sensitive classified information at White House meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
It is doubtful either of these denials will mute the rising chorus amid the press and Democrats demanding an official hearing, as well as full disclosure of what was said and whether Trump broke laws when speaking to the Russians.
Meanwhile, the infamously fired former acting AG Sally Yates raised the stakes on Tuesday morning when discussing the Trump story, she told CNN "There's certainly a criminal statute that was implicated by his conduct"...
Yates on CNN suggests Flynn broke law: "There's certainly a criminal statute that was implicated by his conduct."https://t.co/fOeJv68RGd— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) May 16, 2017
... potentially laying the ground for future impeachment proceedings.