Who was in Trump's meeting with the Russians?

Alvin Kelly
May 18, 2017

The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump shared highly classified information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak about an Islamic State terror threat involving laptop computers on aircraft.

The White House would not comment on Israel being the source.

"Until the administration fully explains the facts of this case, the American people will rightly doubt if their president can handle our nation's most closely kept secrets", Schumer said Tuesday in the Senate. But there was nothing wrong with that, he insisted.

But then Trump seemingly admitted sharing information, tweeting Tuesday: "As President I wanted to share with Russian Federation. which I have the absolute right to do".

Donald Trump - President Rex Tillerson - Secretary of State H.R. McMaster - National Security Adviser Dina Powell - Deputy National Security Adviser Missing? Democrats and some Republicans greeted those denials skeptically.

In the wake of that mixed messaging, Trump tweeted the explanation: "As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with ideal accuracy!"

Still, it's hard to imagine the president being prosecuted under those laws given that it's his constitutional power to make national security decisions.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans alike expressed concern about the president's disclosures. Sen.

Time and again, Trump has forced his aides to defend dubious claims. He tweeted last week that since he's a very active president, it's not always possible for his surrogates to speak with flawless accuracy.

The White House is disputing a report that President Donald Trump asked C. Trump had already blasted the media over its reports - accurate - about the numbers. She also referred to a "Bowling Green Massacre" that never occurred.

Lawfare got into more of the potential problems, like the possibility of this disclosure violating the president's oath of office and of it raising the stakes over whether Trump records conversations in the Oval Office and for his Federal Bureau of Investigation director pick.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a retiring Miami Republican who sits on the House Foreign Relations Committee and has always been heavily involved in those issues, also did not support Trump during the campaign.

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Asked Tuesday if he is concerned about White House credibility being undermined, Spicer said "no one would ever want that". They note that the administration has yet to face a national or worldwide crisis comparable to the September 11, 2001, attacks, Hurricane Katrina or the Sandy Hook school shootings.

Good for prominent Republicans who are finally starting to speak out against the president's outrages. Marco Rubio, a Trump rival.

How does this complicate things for the White House?

"This is not business as usual".

Comey's memo, an apparent effort to create a paper trail of his contacts with the White House, would be the clearest evidence to date that the president has tried to influence the investigation.

One: "People in the Justice Department made a very strong recommendation, the president followed it and he made a quick and decisive action to fire James Comey". He was in the room last week when the president shared the information with Russia's foreign minister and US ambassador at the White House. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who was Mr. Trump's chief challenger during the presidential primary race past year.

At one point, McMaster said that the information Trump revealed "was nothing that you would not know from open source reporting". US media reports revealed that Israel, the USA ally in the Middle East, is the source of the information on IS.

The Trump administration has come under intense scrutiny over accusations that the president's aides had colluded with Russian officials during last year's presential campaign.

"Disclosing sensitive or classified information that wasn't even generated by us to hostile foreign governments will not only hamper our ability to get intelligence from our allies in the future, it will also undermine our ability to collect vital information we need to pursue our interests", she said.

For Trump staffers, there have been warnings they could be undercut by their boss.

Trump and his keepers meanwhile offer non-denial denials. "The only quote that matters is a quote from me!"

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