White House denies report Trump shared classified intelligence with Russian officials

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(Via ABC News)
The White House denied an explosive Washington Post story Monday that President Donald Trump shared classified intelligence information during a meeting with members of the Russian government last week.

According to The Washington Post, the nature of the information was related to an Islamic State terrorist threat and gathered by a United States intelligence partner. The report notes that Trump disclosed the information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak last Wednesday, despite Russia not being a member of the intelligence-sharing arrangement from which the information originated.

As president, Trump possesses the legal power to declassify information, but officials worry these alleged disclosures to the Russians could jeopardize this intelligence-sharing operation.

“The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation,” said National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. “At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

“I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” added McMaster.

“This story is false. The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced,” Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser for strategy, said in a statement.

Neither McMaster or Powell specifically addressed the allegation that the president revealed classified information or the possibility that he may have jeopardized an intelligence-sharing operation.

A spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., said they have no comment on this matter and they will not discuss their interactions with the president.

On Capitol Hill, as news of the disclosure report spread, senators on both sides of the aisle indicated their displeasure.

“If it’s accurate, it would be troubling,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, described the dispatch as “really shocking” while Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, as “disturbing.”

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