President Trump seemed to recognize that he revealed highly classified information to Russia — a shocking affirmation of a Washington Post story and a move that repudiated his White House group after it mixed to deny the report.
Trump’s tweets attempted to clarify away the news, which developed late Monday, that he had shared sensitive, “code-word” information with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during a White House meeting last week, an exposure that insight authorities cautioned could endanger a crucial intelligence source on the Islamic State.
Trump portrayed his discussions with the Russians as “an openly scheduled meeting at the White House. Truth be told, the social affair was shut to all U.S. media, in spite of the fact that a picture taker for the Russian state-possessed news organization was permitted into the Oval Office, inciting national security concerns.
“As President, I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts about terrorism and airline flight safety,” Trump wrote Tuesday morning. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
Trump’s tweets undermined his administration’s frantic effort Monday night to contain the damaging report. The White House jogged out three senior organization authorities — national security consultant H.R. McMaster, agent national security guide Dina Powell and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — to attack the reports.
The president’s affirmation takes after familiar pattern. A week ago, after firing FBI Director James B. Comey, the White House originally claimed that the president was acting because of a memo gave by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.
In any case, in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump later conceded that he had settled on the choice to flame Comey a long time before Rosenstein’s reminder, to some degree since he was baffled by the chief’s examination concerning conceivable conspiracy between his presidential campaign and the Russian government.
At the time, Trump was surprised by the almost universal bipartisan backlash to his decision, and he seethed at his staff, debilitating to shake up his effectively tumultuous West Wing. His correspondences group — Communications Director Mike Dubke and press secretary Sean Spicer — bore the brunt of the president’s ire.
On Monday night, taking after the Washington Post story, the president again was disappointed with Duke and Spicer, as per somebody with knowledge of the situation.
But, his choice Tuesday to undermine his West Wing staff in a progression of tweets is probably not going to help him convey steadiness to his tumultuous organization, days before he withdraws on a 10-day trip abroad.
In a later tweet, Trump comes back to one of his most loved subjects when blamed for crimes — spills.
“I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community,” Trump wrote.
The irony seemed to be lost on Trump that — in any event on sharing classified intelligence with the Russians — he was, in fact, the original leaker.
Since the president has broad authority to declassify data, it is improbable that his disclosures to the Russians were illegal — as they would have been had pretty much any other individual in government had same secrets. However, the ordered data he imparted to a geopolitical adversary was nonetheless explosive, having been given by a basic U.S. accomplice through an insight sharing the course of action considered so sensitive that a few subtle elements were withheld even from top allies and other government authorities.