President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that he shared “facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety” during a meeting last week with Russia‘s foreign minister and the Russian ambassador.
“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.
“I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community…” the president added.
The statement follows an explosive report from the Washington Post that Trump shared highly classified information with Russian officials. The Post stated that “the information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government.” Trump’s tweets did not address the classified nature of the information that was shared.
After the story broke, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster pushed back against the report, and said that “the president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation. At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already publicly known.” After McMaster’s statement, which he delivered without taking questions, a number of reporters pointed out that he denied something that was not asserted in the Post’s story.
Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office on Wednesday, the day after Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey triggered a furor. The FBI is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, accused of having a role in hacking incidents in an effort to influence the 2016 elections.