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WaPost: Trump revealed classified information to Russian Federation during recent meeting

16 May 2017

President Donald Trump's national security adviser is denying a report that claims Trump shared highly classified intelligence about Islamic State militants with a top Russian diplomat.

In a joint statement, the top Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, Elijah Cumming and John Conyers, called for the release of any audio recordings of Trump's meeting last week with the Russians.

A president has wide berth to reveal classified information, but critics already have denounced Trump for having too cozy a relationship with Russian Federation, which intelligence and military officials view as an adversary.

A bipartisan group of senators appeared surprised on Monday when told about The Washington Post story, and members of the Senate intelligence committee said they were not briefed on the matter. But intelligence officials, quoted by the newspapers, expressed concern that the information, provided by a USA partner government, could harm crucial relationships. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances.

While the president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will, in this case he did so without consulting the ally that provided it, which threatens to jeopardize what they called a long-standing intelligence-sharing agreement, the United States officials said.

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CNN has yet to confirm the details of The Washington Post report.

BuzzFeed also confirmed The Post's report, with one US official saying that the disclosures from the president to the Russians were "far worse than what has already been reported".

If true, the breach was ill-timed, coming a day after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, who was leading an investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election.

The meeting came a day after that firing, and was already controversial in itself, a red carpet welcome for top aides of Vladimir Putin just months after being hit with U.S. sanctions for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. "The President only discussed the common threats that both countries faced", said Dina Powell, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy, who also attended the meeting. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from any involvement in the FBI's investigations into Russia after it was revealed that he twice met with Kislyak despite testifying he had had no contact with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing.

The "story that came out tonight as reported is false", White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said at a hastily arranged appearance outside the White House. He did not reveal the name of the source or the intelligence-gathering method, but discussed details that could be used to reverse engineer that information, per the story.

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"The importance of carefully handling classified information was one of the big lessons of 2016", said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.

McMaster says: "I was in the room.it didn't happen". He left without taking questions.

Asked about the disclosures, Trump's national security adviser, HR McMaster, who participated in the meeting, said no intelligence sources or methods were discussed that were not already known publicly, the Post reported. He said that during that exchange the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations.

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., said that if The Post's report was true, it was "inexcusable".

The White House said the allegations, first reported by the Washington Post, were not correct.

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