President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.
The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency…
One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a key figure in earlier Russia controversies — into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft…
In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.
We’ll see how Republicans react to this bombshell Post report. Senator Bob Corker, who is seen as a very serious foreign party thinker inside the party, responded this way, per reporter Sahil Kapur:
“The White House has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order. It’s got to happen.”
If only Senator Corker belonged to an institution with the power to place a check on the president that Republicans themselves now say is out of control. — gs
* Meanwhile, Greg Miller reports that the Trump presidency is already paying dividends for Vladimir Putin:
Russia has yet to collect much of what it hoped for from the Trump administration, including the lifting of U.S. sanctions and recognition of its annexation of Crimea.
But the Kremlin has collected a different return on its effort to help elect Trump in last year’s election: chaos in Washington.
The president’s decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey last week was the latest destabilizing jolt to a core institution of the U.S. government. The nation’s top law enforcement agency joined a list of entities that Trump has targeted, including federal judges, U.S. spy services, news organizations and military alliances.
The instability, although driven by Trump, has in some ways extended and amplified the effect Russia sought to achieve with its unprecedented campaign to undermine the 2016 presidential race.
“Is the White House intending to cooperate with those requests and furnish that information as requested in writing?” Simendinger asked.
“I think I made it clear last week that the President has nothing further on that,” Spicer said.
“Does that mean that the President will deny requests?” Simendinger asked.
“I was very clear that the President would have nothing further on that last week,” Spicer said.
“You’re describing a situation in which the President would defy the legislative branch’s request,” Simendinger pressed. “That’s what you’re saying.”
“I understand,” Spicer said. “I’ve made it clear what the President’s position is on that issue.”
Spicer then pointed to the back of the room, shouted, “Look over there!” and scampered out. I’m sure everyone will stop asking now.
* Hallie Jackson, Kristen Welker, Kelly O’Donnell, and Ali Vitali report that the Trump White House is counting on his first foreign trip to get things back on track. Yeah, I’m sure it’ll go off without a hitch.
* Jayne O’Donnell and Ken Alltucker report on the families of children with serious health problems who are fearful of the damage Republicans are trying to inflict on them.
* A new Gallup poll shows support for marriage equality at 64 percent, an all-time high. Congrats, Adam and Steve!
* And Robbie Gramer reports that officials at the upcoming NATO summit have told the participating heads of state to limit their comments to two to four minutes. Why? “To avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span.”