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H.R. McMaster's defense of Trump's release of classified information is laughable

19 May 2017, 11:30 | Gladys Abbott

H.R. McMaster's defense of Trump's release of classified information is laughable

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows President Donald Trump meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Wednesday

Yet U.S. allies and some members of Congress expressed concern bordering on alarm. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "and they've got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening".

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, McMaster said the "premise of that article is false".

Sen. Mike Lee, meanwhile, said the allegations would be "highly problematic if true" and called for a briefing from the administration.

"You will appreciate it's a really sensitive area. And in fact, when I made a decision to just do it, I said to myself, I said, 'You know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story.'" Trump told NBC.

McMaster told reporters after the story broke: "I was in the room".

She made the remarks after a two-day Washington visit where she met numerous lawmakers and administration officials - one of them being the newly sworn in USA trade czar, Robert Lighthizer, who will play a role in the renegotiation of NAFTA.

During a May 10 meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, Trump began describing details about an Islamic State terror threat, according to current and former U.S. officials. Freeland said she expects the administration to send its notice soon announcing the upcoming renegotiation of NAFTA. "It could have a negative impact on our national security". In the letter to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The controversy engulfed the White House.

The latest incident comes just a week after Trump fired Comey.

"Without revealing sources and methods, it's hard to prove how the USA got it, who it got it from, when it got it", Waurishuk said, countering media assertions that the Russians would be able to determine essential information from the limited details Trump offered during last week's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak.

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But the president admitted the basic details on Twitter - and he said it was no big deal.

Trump said in a tweet earlier Tuesday that he had the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation. Still, it will only heighten Trump's strained relations with intelligence workers and former officials, who view Russian Federation as an adversary.

Trump's early morning defense of sharing information with the Russians appeared to differ in tone from ones offered by aides who the night earlier declared the story to be "false".

McMaster said the real threat to national security was leakers "releasing information to the press". It is extraordinary for a president to share such information without consent of the country that collected it, apparently violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with Israel.

"The information the president relayed had been provided by a United States partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the USA government", the report said, citing officials.

He also said Trump sought to "emphasize the common interests" between the United States and Russian Federation when it came to fighting terrorism.

Mr Trump's move is not illegal, as the USA president has the authority to declassify information.

"The president wasn't even aware of where this information came from", McMaster said.

The officer went on to say they "would not trust a partner who shared intelligence" without telling them first.



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