US president, Donald Trump, has admitted that he shared information on terrorism with Russia.
On his defense, Trump said that despite being classified information he has an “absolute right” to do so.
According to The Guardian, local media outlet, he was responding to reports in the Washington Post and elsewhere alleging that Trump had revealed “highly classified” details about a threat from Isis during a meeting last week with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
The president is allowed to declassify and share classified information at any moment he chooses. Trump’s Tuesday morning tweets did not specify whether the information he shared with the Russians was classified.
“As president, I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled WH meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” Trump wrote. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against Isis and terrorism.”
President did not disclose any information
Top administration officials who had attended the 10 May meeting said on Monday night that the president did not disclose intelligence sources or methods to the Russian officials, but fell short of denying Trump that had shared classified information.
HR McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, said the president and Russian foreign minister “reviewed common threats from terrorist organisations to include threats to aviation”.
“At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly,” McMaster said in a statement.
Speaking to reporters later at the White House, McMaster added to his statement by saying: “I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”
“During President Trump’s meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, a broad range of subjects were discussed, among which were common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism,” Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, said.
“During that exchange, the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said on Facebook on Tuesday said the reports were “yet another fake” – and advised people to not read American newspapers.