Contradictions by Trump create credibility gap for aides

Frederick Owens
May 18, 2017

By the next morning, however, H.R. McMaster's pronouncement was undercut by Trump himself, making the aide the latest to face a public conflict with the boss in a White House where credibility problems are becoming an occupational hazard.

"Republicans now need to spend more time having their questions answered, as to all of the whys regarding the president's decisions and actions, as opposed to focusing on a policy agenda", Stutzman said. But there was nothing wrong with that, he insisted.

In a memo, FBI Director James Comey wrote that Trump had asked him to shut down an FBI investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to a person familiar with the situation. "It was very bad of him", the smiling Putin said sarcastically during a press conference. Trump had already blasted the media over its reports - accurate - about the numbers.

"Members of Congress are sick of being asked every single day to respond to something President Trump did or said", said Alex Conant, who has served as a top communications adviser to Sen.

"If the U.S. administration considers it possible, we are ready to submit a transcript of Lavrov's talk with Trump to the U.S. Senate and Congress, if, of course, the U.S. administration would want this", Putin said, according to the Russian-owned Tass news agency. That was untrue, something the White House blamed on Flynn when Trump fired him a month later.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of IL said he senses from "very private" conversations that some of his Republican colleagues are beginning to crack, tired and frustrated by the constant chaos coming from the White House.

But the loose accounting of facts has raised alarms among both Republicans and Democrats. Marco Rubio, a Trump rival.

"This is not business as usual".

"My major concern right now is that I don't know what the president said", Burr said.

The Kremlin isn't commenting on the details of the classified information that President Donald Trump shared with the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador last week.

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But in an interview with NBC News' Lester Holt two days later, Trump said he had long planned to sack his controversial Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

In Washington, Republican and Democratic lawmakers said they wanted to see the Comey memo.

The White House made another pivot after Trump disclosed information about an Islamic State terror threat in his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Kislyak. A senior U.S official told AP the same thing, saying the threat involved laptop computers on aircraft.

Putin said he was pleased with Lavrov's visit to Washington last week but mocked the idea that Trump had shared secrets during the meeting, calling the allegations "political schizophrenia" and saying people spreading them are either "dumb" or "corrupt".

Powell flatly said: "This story is false". Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said the administration was in a "downward spiral", creating a "worrisome environment", while Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., called for a transcript of the meeting with Russian officials to be released to the House of Representatives and Senate Intelligence committees.

"The president is the commander in chief, he decides what is ultimately classified information and what is not, and we all make mistakes obviously, but I think most of us believe that the president in terms of our national security interests is going to put America first", said Sen.

On Tuesday, McMaster, in a White House briefing, cast some of Trump's revelations as information that was available from publicly available "open-source reporting" and added that the president did not know the precise source of the intelligence he had shared.

In the weeks before Trump took office, Obama administration officials were so concerned by the Trump transition team's handling of classified documents that they moved swiftly to exert more control over the sensitive materials, according to two former USA officials.

Ryan's aides countered by pointing out that in the same July 2016 opinion piece where he called for Clinton to be denied classified briefings because of her email practices, Ryan also said those briefings could resume if she were actually elected.

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