In Early Morning Tweetstorm, Trump Defends Decision to Share Information With Russia

FlickrCC/The White House

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Tuesday morning to react to the numerous reports alleging he shared highly classified information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.

In his tweets, the president admitted to discussing “facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” confirming at least one part of the bombshell report from the Washington Post:

By confirming aspects of the Washington Post report, the president’s tweets appear to contradict some of his aides who issued outright denials of the report on Monday evening. Both National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell claimed the story was false on Monday evening.

“There is nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people,” McMaster said, speaking outside the White House on Monday. “The story that came out tonight as reported is false.”

The Washington Post report claims Trump “went off script” by making the decision to discuss new airline risks, sharing sensitive information from a U.S. ally without explicit permission to do so:

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

McMaster denied that the president had disclosed “intelligence sources and methods,” though that is not what the Washington Post story alleges.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to the Washington Post story in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

“Guys, have you been reading American newspapers again?” Zakharova wrote. “You shouldn’t read them. You can put them to various uses, but you shouldn’t read them. Lately it’s become not only harmful, but dangerous too.”

Due to the president holding the ultimate authority to declassify information, it’s not likely that President Trump did anything illegal by sharing sensitive information with the Russians. Nevertheless, his decision to do so could jeopardize security cooperation with the ally that gave the United States the information and potentially endanger the lives of intelligence assets.

What do you think?

Obama Refused to Do It Last Year — But Tonight, President Trump Turned the White House Blue

Russia Just Responded to Explosive Trump Report — And Its Sights Are Set Squarely on US Media