What Trump discussed with Russian officials was 'wholly appropriate,' adviser says


"Until the administration fully explains the facts of this case, the American people will rightly doubt if their president can handle our nation's most closely kept secrets", Schumer said Tuesday on the Senate floor. "The story that came out tonight as reported is false", McMaster said without elaborating on which elements were wrong.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, McMaster refused to say whether Trump had shared classified information with the representatives from Moscow, falling back on a refrain that Trump's disclosures were "wholly appropriate".

A senior U.S. official told AP that Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

There is also the question of how much harm Trump has done to US intelligence-sharing efforts with partner and allied nations. "I'd like to think somebody from the White House who was in the room is going to get on the phone and tell me what they said". "The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation".

The Americans implied that their Israeli colleagues should "be careful" as of January 20, Trump's inauguration date, when transferring intelligence information to the White House and to the National Security Council (NSC), which is subject to the president. It was not disseminated to allies, was highly compartmented internally, and was sensitive enough that, once it was known that Trump had spilled the beans, administration officials felt it necessary to tell both Central Intelligence Agency and NSA. Democrats say he's a hypocrite, having lambasted Hillary Clinton for her own handling of classified information. But officials cited concern that Moscow emerged from the meeting with clues that Russian spy agencies could use to zero in on the US ally's sources and methods.

Donald Trump did not know the source of the terrorism intelligence he passed to Russian Federation or how it was gathered, his National Security Adviser has admitted. Still, it will only heighten Trump's strained relations with intelligence workers and former officials, who view Russian Federation as an adversary. He also said "the president wasn't even aware of where this information came from".

The meeting came a day after Mr Trump fired his Federal Bureau of Investigation chief, James Comey, sparking criticism that he had done so because the FBI was investigating his election campaign's alleged Russian ties. Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was sacked after he misled Vice-President Mike Pence about conversations he had with Kisylak.

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The country supplying the intelligence to the United States was identified in the Post story only as "an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State". Officials familiar with how the United States obtained that information told the Times that "at least some of the details that the United States has about the plot came from the Israelis". H R McMaster said instead the focus of the debate should now be on the "leaks" to the media and how "those violating confidentiality" have put America's national security at risk.

The CIA is declining to comment.

Other Republicans, however, expressed concern. One can only imagine how exhausted and furious Republican lawmakers are getting about all of the drama, controversy, and utter nonsense coming from the White House, torpedoing their legislative agenda.

He denied the USA president had caused a "lapse in national security". His action raised fresh questions about his handling of classified information and his dealings with Russian Federation, which is widely considered an adversary by many USA officials and Western allies.

"Maybe they're busy", offered Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California called the story "deeply disturbing" and said if it's true, the disclosure could jeopardize sources of very sensitive intelligence and relationships with key allies.

That doesn't mean that Trump shouldn't have told the Russians whatever he told them. "Whether or not it is a wise practice or whether it will cause diplomatic or intelligence-gathering concerns obviously are other issues, and most presidents would consult with the intelligence community before choosing to declassify it".