White House insists Trump's disclosures 'wholly appropriate'
- Author: Leroy Wright May 17, 2017,
May 17, 2017, 16:36
The classified intelligence that President Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided by Israel, according to a current and a former American official familiar with how the United States obtained the information.
"As President I wanted to share with Russian Federation (at an openly scheduled WH meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining", he wrote, "to terrorism and airline flight safety".
Although top aides on Monday had declared reports about Trump's discussions false, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday sought instead to downplay the significance of the information Trump revealed.
The White House has grown suspicious about the volume and timing of the seemingly never-ending stream of leaks about the president, said one senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to reflect on the feeling inside the West Wing.
Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican, said on Twitter on Tuesday the White House should share the transcripts with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees "for the objective of transparency".
"Russia is not our friend, yet President Trump seems extraordinarily comfortable inviting Russian agents into the Oval Office and sharing with them highly classified intelligence that's too sensitive to even share with our allies", Sen. "The story combined what was leaked with other information and the insinuated about sources and methods", he said.
"The president should make full, unedited transcripts available immediately, no ifs, no ands, no buts", Schumer told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.
The classified intelligence that President Donald Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided by Israel, according to a current and a former U.S. official familiar with how the United States obtained the information.
Trump has made little apparent effort to cement those ties as illustrated most dramatically, but far from exclusively, by Comey's abrupt dismissal. He promised that "we're going to have a lot of great success over the next coming years" in the fight against IS "and we want to get as many to help fight terrorism as possible".
Armed Services Chairman John McCain issued a statement calling the reports "deeply disturbing" and said they could impede allies' willingness to share intelligence with the U.S.in future. Two Israeli intelligence officers told BuzzFeed on Tuesday that Israel had indeed shared specific intel with the USA regarding the plot. The White House vowed to track down those who disclosed the information.
The president's action drew rare criticism from some Republicans, who are desperate to get the White House refocused on health care and tax changes. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the reports "deeply disturbing" and said they could affect the willingness of USA allies and partners to share intelligence with the U.S.
He said the United States had been Israel's closest ally and this alliance "is deep, significant and unprecedented in volume".
But other nations appeared to be reconsidering. He insisted that Trump did not share information about "sources and methods" because he was not aware of the source of the intelligence at the time he discussed it with the Russians.
There was a pervasive sense, another official said, that "we are kind of helpless".
The revelation was first reported by the Washington Post.
He added, "The president and his administration must protect our national security by making certain sensitive information does not fall into the wrong hands".
Comey, appointed as Federal Bureau of Investigation director in 2013 by President Barack Obama, spoke often about his desire to be as transparent as possible about Federal Bureau of Investigation actions and about proving to the public that his agency was independent, competent and thorough.
The New York Times reported that Israel was the provider, though administration officials wouldn't confirm that was true. According to the Israelis who were present in the meeting, the Americans recommended that until it is made clear that Trump is not inappropriately connected to Russian Federation and is not being extorted - Israel should avoid revealing sensitive sources to administration officials for fear the information would reach the Iranians.
"I don't have information I'm at liberty to share", Freeland said. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the reports "deeply disturbing" and said they could affect the willingness of USA allies and partners to share intelligence with the U.S.
Typically, that has been interpreted to mean that the president has the ultimate authority to classify and to declassify information.
And while Comey himself has been silent, his associates have been exposing intriguing details of his encounters with Trump.