JERUSALEM — President Trump said Monday that he never told Russian diplomats during a May 10 Oval Office meeting that the classified information about the Islamic State he was sharing with them had come from Israel — something he has not been accused of doing.
Trump veered off the script of his heavily choreographed visit to Israel during a brief media appearance alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem to address the issue. Both men responded to a shouted question asking Netanyahu whether he had any concerns about intelligence cooperation with the United States.
“The intelligence cooperation is terrific,” Netanyahu said.
Trump then hushed the room so he could respond as well.
“Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name Israel,” Trump told reporters. “Never mentioned it during that conversation. They're all saying I did, so you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word Israel.”
But Trump has not been accused of explicitly telling the Russians that the intelligence concerning the Islamic State came through Israel. Rather, because he revealed specifically where the information had come from within Syria, Russian intelligence officials could determine the source nevertheless.
During the May 10 meeting, Trump relayed sensitive information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about the Islamic State in Syria that had been provided to the U.S. government by Israel through an intelligence partnership. Israel had not given Trump permission to share the material with Russia.