Trump claims 'absolute right' to share info with Russia

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows President Donald Trump meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Wednesday

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows President Donald Trump meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Wednesday

Still, the White House has not expressly denied that classified information was disclosed in the Oval Office meeting between Trump and Russian diplomats last week.

McMaster also said Trump "wasn't even aware of where this information came from". White House officials denounced the report, saying the president did not disclose intelligence sources or methods to the Russians, though officials did not deny that classified information was disclosed in the Wednesday meeting. But then the president was emphasizing, 'We have a common interest here.

But keep in mind US officials unfamiliar with intelligence sometimes make such mistakes.

One: "They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States' decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia", Pence said January 15 on CBS.

In a statement, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said if news reports are true, Trump has "compromised a key source of intelligence collection" against ISIS and jeopardised the security of the American people. "He wasn't briefed on the source or method of the information either", he added.

The revelation may have additional peril for Trump because during his campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton a year ago, he repeatedly assailed her "careless" use of a private email system while she was secretary of state, a practice he argued could have exposed classified information.

McMaster, in a White House briefing, said: "In the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he is engaged".

"I'm concerned about the fact that the President feels like he has to give something to Russian Federation first when there have been repeated instances of Russian Federation being sanctioned in Ukraine, committing war crimes in Syria and conducting operations that are contrary to what we'd like to believe are freedom of operations and sovereignties of different nations", he said Tuesday on CNN's "New Day".

Doug Andres, a spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, said the speaker was looking for "a full explanation of the facts from the administration". Some analysts, however, said the reports could undermine trust between partners. "Obviously they're in a downward spiral right now and they've got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening". "It's going to go to the Syrians, It's going to go to the Iranians - Russian allies", Baer said. "Producing the transcripts is the only way for this Administration to categorically prove the reports untrue". AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.

But in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, Trump later admitted that he had made the decision to fire Comey well before Rosenstein's memo, in part because he was frustrated by the director's investigation into possible collusion between his presidential campaign and the Russian government.

The U.S. and Western officials spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive information.

The intelligence involved may be behind the US announcement on March 21 that electronic devices larger than smartphones would be banned from cabins on flights originating from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa. The Department of Homeland Security has been considering expanding the restriction to flights from Europe.

The move was met with condemnation from Democrats, and some Republicans, on Capitol Hill, who said the revelation could jeopardize intelligence sources on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and make allies more reluctant to share intelligence with the U.S. And indeed, presidents are legally authorized to disclose classified information.

According to the USA official, Trump shared details with top Russian officials about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

Bloomberg's Laura Litvan, Steven T. Dennis, Jennifer Epstein, Stepan Kravchenko and Nafeesa Syeed contributed.

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