President Trump on Tuesday said he shared “facts” about an ISIS plot with Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week, asserting he had “the absolute right to do” it, in the face of a report claiming Trump discussed classified information that could endanger U.S. intelligence sources.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all strongly pushed back Monday evening following a Washington Post report that Trump disclosed to Russian officials the foreign city where an ISIS plot was hatched – a development that could potentially lead the Russians to discover U.S. intelligence sources and methods. But Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted his first response to the firestorm.
“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism,” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets.
The Washington Post report relied on anonymous current and former U.S. officials in its account of the small Oval Office meeting Trump had with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
A Russian government spokesperson on Tuesday morning also denied any classified information was discussed in the meeting.