Sen. Chris Coons is troubled by media reports saying President Trump revealed classified information in a meeting with Russian officials.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday afternoon defended Trump's comments during last week's meeting, which he described as "wholly appropriate".
One official said it appeared the transition aides were moving the information from the transition offices to the White House, a distance of just a few blocks. Trump abruptly fired Comey, ousting the nation's top law enforcement official in the midst of an investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's election meddling. They said it was considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the USA government, the Associated Press reports. Then Tuesday came the multiple reports that Trump had asked FBI Director James Comey to end his investigation of Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser.
That he did not also blab the actual source or methods by which the information was obtained - as White House officials contend - is of little outcome. "And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known". The language of McMaster's statement was ideal Clintonese.
Defending Trump's actions, officials played down the importance and secrecy of the information, which had been supplied by Israel under an intelligence-sharing agreement, and Trump himself said he had "an absolute right" as president to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation. "As President I wanted to shar".
That sounds a lot more like a confirmation of the Washington Post story than a denial.
WASHINGTON President Donald Trump didn't appear to break any law by sharing highly classified information with Russian Federation, but that doesn't make it any less problematic for America's intelligence agencies and their overseas partners.
One European nation allied with the US told The Associated Press that the possibility that Trump might share sensitive information obtained by them without their permission could lead them to stop passing on news of threats obtained in the future.
Trump ignored reporters' questions about whether he disclosed classified information. That apparently didn't happen here. Because of Trump's infatuation with Russia and his lack of discipline, he was drawn into the Russians' confidence and gave away state secrets just to prove what a great guy he is. He issued a statement calling the information leak reported by the Post "appalling and deeply disturbing".
The latter would be most troubling.
McMaster was adamant Trump did not have an inappropriate conversation or one that caused a lapse in national security.
"We have allies around the world, trusted allies".
The irony seemed to be lost on Trump that - at least in the case of sharing classified intelligence with the Russians - he was, in fact, the original leaker.
The official would not say which country's intelligence was divulged.
American intelligence agencies are uniform in their conclusion that Russians hacked the USA election.
In 1964, for example, Lyndon Johnson confounded the Central Intelligence Agency and the Air Force by stating at a press conference that we'd developed the SR-71 supersonic reconnaissance aircraft that, he said, flew at speeds in excess of 2,000 miles per hour and at altitudes in excess of 70,000 feet. "The President only discussed the common threats that both countries faced".
"The Supreme Court has stated in Department of the Navy v. Egan that "[the President's] authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security. flows primarily from this Constitutional investment of power in the President and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant".
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