White House insists Trump – s revelations to Russia ‘wholly adequate – The Globe and Mail
White House insists Trump’s revelations to Russia ‘wholly adequate’
This file photo taken on May Four, two thousand seventeen shows U.S. President Donald Trump speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Pictures
The White House on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump’s disclosure of classified information to senior Russian officials as “wholly suitable,” as Trump attempted to hit back criticism from fellow Republicans and peaceful international allies increasingly wary about sharing their secrets with the fresh president.
The very classified information about an Islamic State plot was collected by Israel, a crucial source of intelligence and close playmate in the fight against some of the America’s fiercest threats in the Middle East. Trump’s disclosure of the information threatened to fray that partnership and piled pressure on the White House to explain the evidently on-the-spot decision to expose the information to Russian diplomats in a meeting last week.
In a series of morning tweets, Trump proclaimed he has “an absolute right” as president to share “facts pertaining to terrorism” and airline safety with Russia. Albeit top aides on Monday had proclaimed reports about Trump’s discussions false, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday sought instead to downplay the significance of the information Trump exposed. The president had been engaging in “routine sharing” with foreign leaders, he said, arguing that some of the information was publicly available.
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Still, the revelations sent a White House acquainted to chaos reeling anew. It is extreme for a president to share such information without consent of the country that collected it, evidently violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with Israel. It was, perhaps, even more remarkable that Trump chose to confide in representatives of an adversary, who could use the information to find its source.
A U.S. official who confirmed the disclosure to The Associated Press said the revelation potentially put the source at risk.
The U.S. official told AP that Trump collective details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. The official said the disclosure came as Trump boasted about his access to classified intelligence. An excerpt from an official transcript of the meeting exposes that Trump told them, “I get fine intel. I have people brief me on superb intel every day.”
The official said the information was provided to the U.S. by Israel.
The extreme leak of Trump’s private conversations in the Oval Office appeared to be a direct consequence of the president’s combative relationship with the U.S. spy agencies. The White House vowed to track down those who disclosed the information.
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The president’s act drew uncommon criticism from some Republicans, who are desperate to get the White House refocused on health care and tax switches. Coming days before Trump’s very first tour abroad, it also raised questions about his standing with world leaders and led some countries to embark second-guessing their own intelligence-sharing agreements with the U.S.
In a statement, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said the partnership inbetween the U.S and Israel was solid.
“Israel has utter confidence in our intelligence sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump,” Dermer said.
But other nations appeared to be reconsidering. A senior European intelligence official told the AP his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms that Trump collective classified details with Russian officials. Such sharing “could be a risk for our sources,” the official said. 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 revelation was very first reported by the Washington Post.
After he spoke with the Russians, Trump was informed that he had violated protocol and White House officials placed calls to the National Security Agency and the CIA looking to minimize any harm. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly. The Fresh York Times very first reported that Israel was the source of the information.
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On Tuesday, McMaster, in a White House briefing, cast some of Trump’s revelations as information that was available from publicly available “open-source reporting” and added that the president did not know the precise source of the intelligence he had collective. He appeared to be suggesting that Trump had not knowingly compromised a confidential source, but the statement also indicated that the president had not asked his advisers for detailed information about the intelligence report he’d received.
“In the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly adequate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information inbetween the president and any leaders with whom he is engaged,” McMaster said.
On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans alike voiced concern. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the reports “deeply disturbing” and said they could affect the preparedness of U.S. allies and fucking partners to share intelligence with the U.S.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for Congress to have instant access to a transcript of Trump’s meeting with the Russians, telling that if Trump turns down, Americans will doubt that their president is capable of safeguarding critical secrets.
Trump disregarded reporters’ questions about whether he disclosed classified information. Following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump said only that his meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was “very, very successful.”
CIA Director Mike Pompeo was to brief members of the House intelligence committee late Tuesday.
The fresh controversy left White House staffers, already under siege following last week’s botched treating of FBI Director James Comey’s firing, on edge. The communications team, in particular, has come in for acute criticism from the president, as well as his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Trump has told advisers he’s aware of a need to make switches to his White House team, tho’ it was unclear what those moves might be or whether any were imminent.