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Trump divulged the information in a May 10 meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the Post said, citing anonymous former and current U.S. officials. As he did so, the president reportedly boasted: “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.”
The paper reported that Trump shared information obtained via a highly sensitive intelligence-sharing arrangement that does not give him permission to relay it to Moscow, or even some members of his own government. The Post also reported that Trump revealed details of a terror plot against Russia, naming the ISIS-held city where it was detected. Such a disclosure, the paper said, may threaten the ability of the U.S.’s partner to collect intelligence in future.
Following the Oval Office meeting, the White House attempted to lessen the damage and contacted the National Security Agency and CIA to inform them of what had occurred.
“This is code-word information,” a U.S. official told The Post, explaining the president had “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
Initially, it was reported Trump provided the Russian foreign minister and ambassador with intelligence related to the ISIS threat posed by laptops being carried onto planes-in an unusual, but unlikely illegal, conversation.
But the president reportedly continued the conversation by detailing specific intelligence gathered by an ally, though he did not reveal the information-gathering techniques used. As The New York Timesreports, sharing this information isn’t illegal but could hurt the U.S.’s relationship with its ally.
Two officials spoke to BuzzFeed and reportedly confirmed the story, one of them saying: “it’s far worse than what has already been reported.”
Trump’s move prompted an immediate backlash, especially from intelligence officials. As one former official, speaking to The Post, put: “Trump seems to be very reckless, and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security.”
Trump’s decision to meet with the Russian officials was controversial because it came shortly after he ousted FBI Director James Comey. But the president had pressed ahead with it anyway, despite questions swirling around the timing, as some claimed he dismissed Comey to stymie an investigation into alleged collusion between his presidential campaign and Moscow.
The White House did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment, but dismissed the story in The Post as untrue.
A statement from Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell sent out by the White House claims: “This story is false. The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”