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Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Comey firing: Besieged White House denies, defends as new bombshells hit

Comey firing: Besieged White House denies, defends as new bombshells hit

The Washington Post reported late Monday that Trump revealed what it said was highly classified information on the Islamic State group (IS) during a meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Moscow's Washington ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Mr. Trump's tweets did not address whether he revealed classified information about the Islamic State group, as published reports have said and as a US official told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

After White House officials denied that the president had shared classified data inappropriately, Trump tweeted that he has "the absolute right" to share information with the Russians. Israel's ambassador issued a statement saying Israel still has full confidence in its intelligence sharing relationship with the U.S.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to provide a transcript of a controversial Oval Office meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, raising the stakes in an affair that has sent the White House into a tailspin. But John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the Trump-Russia reports were "deeply disturbing" and could impede allies' willingness to share intelligence with the U.S.

If Trump were to disclose information on Israel's covert methods of operation and intelligence sources to the Russian government, officials in Tehran, Iran, would be the first ones to learn about them.

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 goal of transparency".

Many have noted that Trump, as president, is legally allowed to essentially disclose classified information to whomever he wants.

The intelligence was provided by Israel, according to a current and a former American official familiar with how the USA obtained the information.

"The President and the (Russian) foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organisations to include threats to aviation", said McMaster, the National Security Adviser, who participated in the meeting.

But during a meeting after Trump's inauguration, USA intelligence officials may have allegedly warned their Israeli counterparts that they believed Russian Federation had "leverages of pressure" over Trump.

The classified information had been shared with the president by an ally, violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with that country.

HORSLEY: But after that meeting with the foreign minister, the president's own counterterrorism adviser was concerned enough, he alerted US intelligence agencies about what the president had said.

But after enjoying some love from the media for the unexpected shift on his original Syria policy, one might wonder if Trump will try to bomb another country just to get the media off this story.

The information Trump shared was given to the United States by an ally and was not approved to be shared with the Russians.

As for White House officials who attended the meeting, their on-the-record denials of some of the details in the Post report on Monday evening were adamant and convincing.

Trump will visit Israel next week as part of his first overseas trip as president.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday requesting that it turn over all documents and recordings that detail communications between Comey and Trump.

It reported that an official with knowledge of the meeting described Trump as saying: "I get great intel".

The No. 2 Democrat in the House says Mr. Trump's presidency is "dangerous". Under federal law, the president has a legal right to declassify information. At one point, an eagle-eyed reporter spotted a handful of staffers, including Spicer and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, walking toward the Cabinet Room.

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