Friday, 18 August, 2017

Trump claims 'absolute right' to share info with Russian Federation

Donald Trump NC lawmakers searching for more details about Trump's disclosure to Russians
Christy Curtis | 18 May, 2017, 10:13

The U.S. also shares intelligence with countries like Germany that broadly share U.S. national security goals.

Trump had revealed highly classified details to minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the meeting, The Washington Post reported, citing current and former U.S. officials, who said the president's disclosures jeopardised a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

A second official, senior German lawmaker Burkhard Lischka, called Trump's disclosures "highly worrying".

Some Democratic lawmakers and former intelligence officials warned that, depending on what exactly Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the lives of those gathering the intel provided by Israel to the US may now be at risk.

Trump, himself, appeared eager to weather the storm.

The fact that the secrets went to Russian Federation, an adversary of the USA and many of its allies, was especially alarming. That event was already unsettling Republicans on Capitol Hill, but McConnell's reaction appeared created to mute any notion that GOP lawmakers might begin abandoning Trump.

The classified information had been shared with the president by an ally, violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with that country.

But a series of Trump tweets Tuesday morning flew in the face of those denials, seemingly corroborating the Washington Post's reporting that information was shared.

Responding to the reports, Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Mr Comey should testify in Congress to "share what he knows".

Trump himself claimed the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters outside the White House that the "story that came out tonight, as reported, is false".

Vladimir Putin says he is willing to hand over a transcript of a discussion between Donald Trump and senior Russian officials.

Trump himself claimed the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so.

Yet Trump's decision is all the more confounding given his tense relationship with American spy agencies.

Officials refused to publicly confirm that the original intelligence came from Israel, but the Jewish state's ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, was forced to issue a conciliatory statement.

Comey was sacked as FBI Director last week. He dismissed outrage over Trump's disclosures as US politicians whipping up "anti-Russian sentiment". The Washington Post first reported the disclosure.

The classified information Donald Trump told Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting reportedly came from Israeli sources.

Putin, who still hopes Moscow can fix battered ties with the United States, despite a deepening political scandal in the United States related to Trump's purported Russian Federation ties, said Moscow had rated Lavrov's meeting with Trump highly.

Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign after just over three weeks on the job after it was revealed he had discussed Russian sanctions with Kislyak and then subsequently misled Vice President Pence about those conversations.

Last week, he threw his administration into turmoil by taking the virtually unprecedented step of firing Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, who had been overseeing a probe into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian Federation to skew the presidential election. Generally, giving classified information to someone who's unauthorized is illegal, as laid out in the U.S. Code.

The paper paints the White House as "besieged", and President Trump as "sour and dark", a man calling his aides out in anger as "incompetent". He's set to depart on Friday, traveling to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican, then attending a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels, Belgium, and a G7 meeting in Italy.

But some of the European partners Trump will meet later in his trip have been more skeptical about his policies, including a controversial travel and immigration ban that's been blocked by US courts. In another tweet, Trump warned those who were "leaking" information.

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