This week is already shaping up to be a chaotic week for the Trump White House after reports surfaced alleging that President Trump revealed highly classified information to top Russian officials and that former FBI Director James Comey wrote a memo after a meeting with the president in which the president encouraged Comey not to pursue an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia.
Last week, Trump held a closed-door meeting with the Russian foreign minister and Moscow’s ambassador to the United States and allegedly revealed an Islamic State plot – the biggest plot to take down a passenger plane since 9/11 – to attack commercial airlines by hiding bombs in laptops. A Kremlin-friendly news agency from Russia was present, according to reports.
That meeting began a series of revelations that started unfolding on Monday:
The Washington Post published a report citing current and former U.S. officials who claimed Trump “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.” Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies,” a U.S. official told the Washington Post.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster held a news conference and called the story “false.”
America woke up to tweets from POTUS declaring his “absolute right” to share information with Russia, adding that he wants “Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS and terrorism.”
McMaster did not deny that the information is classified, and he would not definitively say whether or not the president openly gave up top-secret information. He called the president’s conversation with the Russians “appropriate,” adding that POTUS couldn’t have revealed the source because he hadn’t been briefed to that extent. The main issue for McMaster appeared to be the fact that the topic of Trump’s conversation had been leaked.
The New York Times reported that the information Trump shared with Russia was provided by Israel, a U.S. ally in the Middle East. There is a concern that Russia could pass the information to its close ally, Iran, which is considered Israel’s main threat in the region.