Trump discussion with Russians 'wholly appropriate' says advisor

Andrew Little

"The story that came out tonight as reported is false", National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster told a press briefing Monday night on the White House grounds. "So, I am calling on the White House to make the transcript of the meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador available to the congressional intelligence committees as soon as possible".

Congressional Republicans and Democrats expressed concern about the report. In his press briefing on Tuesday, he said that the "premise" of the story was false - in other words, that what Trump did was improper.

The newspaper said the intelligence Trump shared concerned a Daesh threat about how to make laptop bombs that prompted the U.S. and U.K.in March to ban electronic devices in cabins on flights from Muslim-majority countries.

A senior European intelligence official told The Associated Press Tuesday that his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms Trump shared classified details with Russian officials.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it would "be very troubling" if Trump shared sensitive information with the Russians, and said the Senate Intelligence Committee "should be briefed on this important issue immediately".

Israel agencies such as Mossad and the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate have deep cooperation with the USA, though American officials reportedly warned them to "be careful" for fear of the info ending up in Russian Federation or Iran, another backer of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

During a media interaction with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, Trump continued to appear defiant in the face of criticism over the meeting with Russian officials.

Though the USA president is allowed to declassify and share classified information at any moment, the issue has sparked a huge uproar over whether Trump compromised national security by disclosing the details to Russian Federation, long considered a hostile country to the US.

Trump tweets that he shared 'facts pertaining to terrorism' with Russian officials
He said Trump discussed a range of subjects with the Russians, including "common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism". US allies including Australia, New Zealand and Japan cited the White House denials and said intelligence sharing would continue.

"I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community", Trump wrote. The statements undercut his own aides' statements in the wake of The Washington Post report that revealed Trump shared details about a plot related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

McMaster said he was in the room when the meeting took place and no one present felt the conversation was inappropriate. "Reports that this information was provided by a USA ally and shared without its knowledge sends a troubling signal to America's allies and partners", he said. An excerpt to an official transcript of the meeting reveals that Trump told them, "I get great intel".

Because the president has broad authority to declassify information, it is unlikely that his disclosures to the Russians were illegal - as they would have been had just about anyone else in government shared the same secrets.

Russia's foreign ministry has also denied the reports.

The Post's report that such a transcript does exist also added to speculation that meetings in the Oval Office are, indeed, recorded, as Trump had hinted in a tweet threatening the fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey last week.

The revelations could further damage Trump's already fraught relationship with USA intelligence agencies. His criticism has been followed by a steady stream of leaks to the media that have been damaging to Trump and exposed an FBI investigation into his associates' possible ties to Russian Federation.

Republicans from both swing and conservative districts called for more information from the White House.

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