Trump's leaks to Russian officials could discourage U.S. allies from sharing intelligence


A report from the Washington Post saying President Donald Trump gave out classified intelligence information to Russian diplomats has the White House reeling.

"As President I wanted to share with Russian Federation (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety". Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the president's disclosure "in no way" compromised national security.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded tersely "no" when pressed on whether he had concerns about the president's ability to handle classified information, or whether he was losing confidence in Trump.

Still, the revelations sent a White House accustomed to chaos reeling anew.

"So to suggest that - which I think is the nut of the question - why wouldn't we want to share a common threat and the efforts that both countries are taking to eradicate a threat that we both feel? Once it is publicized, ISIS can do an investigation and find the source", Yatom added.

A USA official who confirmed the disclosure to The Associated Press said the revelation potentially put the source at risk.

While affirming that he was not anxious about Trump's disclosure to Russian officials, Mattis admitted that he had no details about Trump's conversation with Lavrov and knew little more about the furor other than what he had "read in the newspapers".

Democrats badgered Republicans to stand up to the president, and demanded access to the transcripts of Trump's meeting last week with two Russian diplomats.

The official said the information was provided to the U.S.by Israel.

Trump, always the last to admit to having anything to learn about anything, is insistent he was right to share classified details about an ISIS plot with Russian Federation - and, in the process, inadvertently reveal the American partner from which those details came, which turns out to have been Israel. He says the Senate Intelligence Committee has requested additional information about the meeting from the White House.

Meanwhile the White House, which had tried to hose down the story yesterday, has changed tactics. Coming days before Trump's first trip overseas, it also raised questions about his standing with world leaders and led some countries to start second-guessing their own intelligence-sharing agreements with the U.S. In a statement to the New York Times, Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, reaffirmed the close counterterrorism partnership between Israel and the US.

But other nations appeared to be reconsidering.

The newspaper said Comey was in the Oval Office that day with other national security officials for a terrorism threat briefing. The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The Washington Post reported that Mr. Trump divulged information designated at a level above top secret.

Republicans said they would prefer less drama from the White House but generally reserved judgment on reports of President Trump's sharing of potentially classified information. "He wasn't briefed on the source and method of the information either", said McMaster.

On Tuesday, the White House denied reports that Trump had asked FBI Director James Comey to shut down an FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

As acting National Security Advisor, McMaster was in the room when the president supposedly shared classified intel about ISIS with Russian officials.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans alike expressed concern. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the reports "deeply disturbing" and said they could affect the willingness of USA allies and partners to share intelligence with the U.S. "But my advice to the president would be if you're going to talk to the Russians about anything sensitive, run it through the system first".

Trump ignored reporters' questions about whether he disclosed classified information.

The latest self-inflicted crises at the White House confirm the deepest fears about President Trump's judgment and self-discipline.