The Latest: Mattis 'not worried' about Trump sharing intel
The Latest: Mattis 'not worried' about Trump sharing intel
The Latest: Mattis 'not worried' about Trump sharing intel
May. 16, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the report that President Donald Trump shared classified information with Russian officials (all times EDT):
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he is "not worried" that President Donald Trump disclosed classified information during discussions with senior Russian leaders.
He says he had discussions Tuesday with three allies, including two who are NATO members, and says the issue "never even came up."
Mattis says he doesn't have any details about Trump's conversation. He spoke briefly with reporters outside the Pentagon after the new Air Force secretary was sworn in.
The White House has defended Trump's talks with the Russians as "wholly appropriate." Trump says he was sharing facts related to terrorism and airline safety.
The revelations have drawn sharp criticism from Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill and raised questions about Trump's handling of classified information.
The New York Times says the classified intelligence President Donald Trump divulged to Russian officials last week was provided by Israel.
The Times cites current and former U.S. officials familiar with how the U.S. obtained the information about an Islamic State plot.
Trump is set to travel to Israel next week on his first foreign trip abroad. In a statement, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said Israel has "full confidence in our intelligence sharing relationship with the United States" but he did not comment specifically on the veracity of the Times report.
The White House has defended Trump's decision to disclose information to the Russians, saying it was "wholly appropriate."
The chairman of the Senate intelligence committee says he wants to talk to one or more of the White House officials who were at the meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian officials in which the president shared intelligence about an Islamic State threat.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., says he wants to give the White House a chance to explain what happened. He says a president can share intelligence, although never things like sources and methods.
He says he doesn't know if there is a transcript of the May 10 meeting, but somebody made notes.
Burr and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the committee, talked to reporters after a closed meeting of the panel.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer says unauthorized leaking of sensitive or classified information is "frankly dangerous," after President Donald Trump reportedly shared classified information with two Russian diplomats during a meeting in the Oval Office.
Spicer says in a White House briefing the unauthorized leaks are a threat to U.S. national security.
He drew a distinction between leaks and Trump's conversation with the Russians, saying the discussion with the Russian officials involved shared threats to the U.S. and Russia.
A U.S. official says Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (sir-GAY' lahv-RAWF') during their meeting about an Islamic State plot.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr says he has yet to get an explanation from the White House on what happened in the Oval Office meeting where the president reportedly shared classified information with the Russians.
Burr says he waited all morning to get a call from someone in the room who can tell him what happened. He says: "Maybe they're busy."
Burr tells a small group of reporters in the Capitol that: "My major concern right now is that I don't know what the president said."
Burr added: "I'd like to think somebody from the White House who was in the room is going to get on the phone and tell me what they said."
President Donald Trump is ignoring questions about whether he revealed classified information to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week.
Trump was asked about the disclosures after delivering statements alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn). He said only that he had a great meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (sir-GAY' lahv-RAWF') and that the U.S. wants to get as much help to fight the Islamic State and terrorism as possible.
A U.S. official says Trump told Lavrov during their meeting about an Islamic State plot. According to the official, the information he revealed came from a U.S. intelligence partner.
White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster says Trump's disclosures where "wholly appropriate."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump's comments to Russian officials at the White House last week "undermined the trust that other countries will have with in us in terms of sharing their intelligence."
Pelosi's comments come as House lawmakers return Tuesday to the Capitol after a week back in their districts. Pelosi led a congressional delegation to India and Nepal.
Pelosi says Democrats will try to force a House vote on establishing an independent commission to investigate Russia's involvement in the 2016 elections and whether there was collusion from Trump associates.
Democrats were expected to distribute on Wednesday a discharge petition on the matter. The tactic rarely succeeds because it requires a majority of the House to sign the petition. She asks, "What are the Republicans afraid of?"
President Donald Trump's national security adviser says Trump didn't know where information that he shared with Russian officials came from.
The adviser, H.R. McMaster, didn't deny that Trump had discussed information deemed classified. But McMaster tells reporters that the information was available through "open-source reporting." That typically refers to reporting that's publicly available, such as news accounts, academic reports or social media.
McMaster says Trump hadn't been briefed on the source or method of the information.
Trump was later informed that he had broken protocol. White House officials then reached out to the National Security Agency and the CIA in an effort to contain any damage.
McMaster identified Trump's homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, as the official who contacted both agencies.
The No. 2 Democrat in the House says Donald Trump's presidency is "dangerous."
Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer told reporters that reports that Trump revealed classified information to top Russian officials was just the latest example of a White House riven by incompetence, chaos, confrontation, and conflicts of interest.
Hoyer said, "I think there is an erosion of confidence among the American people and an erosion of confidence of the international community."
Hoyer said that it's too early to consider impeachment proceedings against Trump, but that "it is time for Republicans to say, 'enough.'"
CIA Director Mike Pompeo will brief members of the House intelligence committee later tonight.
Pompeo will likely be grilled by lawmakers about published reports that President Donald Trump shared such highly classified information with Russian officials that it jeopardized a critical intelligence source.
Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, says Trump's revelation "in no way" compromised intelligence sources and methods.
The CIA wouldn't comment on Pompeo's schedule, but a congressional staffer said Tuesday that he was to brief the committee. The staffer, who was not authorized to discuss the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the meeting had been previously scheduled.
President Donald Trump's national security adviser says information that president shared with the Russians was "wholly appropriate" and based on "open source reporting."
The adviser, H.R. McMaster, says Trump's revelation "in no way" compromised intelligence sources and methods.
McMcaster did not deny that Trump discussed classified information.
Trump said in a tweet earlier Tuesday that he had the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russia.
Trump's tweets did not address whether he revealed classified information about the Islamic State group, as published reports have said and as a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster is standing by his statement denying a Washington Post report that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, McMaster said the "premise of that article is false." He added Trump did not have a "conversation that was inappropriate or resulted in any kind of lapse in national security.
McMaster said the real threat to national security was leakers "releasing information to the press."
The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump shared classified information with Russian officials that jeopardized an intelligence source.
McMaster told reporters after the story broke: "I was in the room. It didn't happen."
The Royal Court says Jordan's King Abdullah II and President Donald Trump have spoken by phone about the fight against terrorism and crises in Syria and the rest of the region.
Tuesday's phone call came as published reports said Trump revealed highly classified information about the extremist group Islamic State to Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting last week.
Jordan is a key ally in the U.S.-led international military coalition against the Islamic State group, which controls territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
The Royal Court says arrangements for the phone call between Trump and Jordan's king were made last week.
It said in a statement that the two leaders talked about the strategic cooperation between Jordan and the U.S., fighting terrorism and various regional crises.
The Senate intelligence committee has reached out to the White House to request additional information on recent reports about alleged dissemination of intelligence information.
Rebecca Watkins, a spokeswoman for committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., says Tuesday that the panel wants to know more about reports that President Donald Trump shared classified information with two Russian officials.
A current U.S. official tells The Associated Press that the intelligence shared addressed a threat from Islamic State militants that a U.S partner shared with the United States. The official demanded anonymity so as to discuss the private meetings.
President Donald Trump's national security adviser plans to brief reporters at the White House.
The White House says H.R. McMaster will hold an on-camera briefing before noon. He was originally scheduled to appear with press secretary Sean Spicer, but Spicer plans to hold a separate, off-camera session with reporters later in the day, after McMaster's appearance.
Reporters had been promised a briefing from McMaster about Trump's first overseas trip, which opens Friday. But McMaster is likely to face questions about reports that Trump shared classified intelligence information with Russian officials when they met in the Oval Office last week.
McMaster has denied the reports, telling reporters Monday after the story broke: "I was in the room. It didn't happen."
The Senate's top Democrat says Congress needs to have immediate access to a transcript of President Donald Trump's meeting at the White House last week with senior Russian officials.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York says that if Trump has "nothing to hide," he'll turn over unedited transcripts to the House and Senate intelligence committees. If Trump refuses, Schumer says Americans will doubt that their president is capable of safeguarding critical secrets.
The request came in response to published reports that the president revealed classified information about the Islamic State group in the meeting with Russian officials.
Congress is investigating Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including hacking Democratic emails.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain says reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week are "deeply disturbing."
The Arizona Republican said Tuesday that it sends a troubling signal to U.S. allies and partners around the world. McCain also said in a statement that reports that the information was provided by a U.S. ally and shared without the country's knowledge could mean that other countries won't share intelligence with Americans in the future.
He said the time Trump spent sharing sensitive information was time he did not spend focused on Russia's aggressive behavior, including interference in elections, and its illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The Senate's top Republican says "we can do with a little less drama from the White House" so the GOP can focus on advancing the party's legislative agenda.
Appearing Tuesday morning on Bloomberg Business, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was responding to reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information about the Islamic State group to Russian officials.
McConnell says, "I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda." He said the agenda is deregulation, tax reform and repealing and replacing the health care law.
McConnell also says he recommended to Trump that he nominate Merrick Garland to replace fired FBI Director James Comey. Garland, the federal judge nominated to the Supreme Court last year by President Barack Obama, was denied a Senate hearing by McConnell.
President Donald Trump says more attention should be paid to find who is leaking information to the media.
The Washington Post first reported that Trump's closed-door remarks with the Russians jeopardize a valuable intelligence source on the Islamic State group.
Trump defended himself in a tweet Tuesday by saying he had an "absolute right" to share what he wanted.
In a follow-up tweet, Trump said he had asked ousted FBI Director James Comey and others "from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community."
A senior European intelligence official tells The Associated Press that his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms President Donald Trump shared classified details with Russian officials.
The official said Tuesday that doing so "could be a risk for our sources."
The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
-By Jan M. Olsen
A senior German lawmaker has expressed concern about reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information about the Islamic State group to Russian officials.
Burkhard Lischka said in a statement to The Associated Press that "if it proves to be true that the American president passed on internal intelligence matters that would be highly worrying."
Lischka, who sits on the German parliament's intelligence oversight committee, noted that Trump has access to "exclusive and highly sensitive information including in the area of combating terrorism."
The Social Democratic Party lawmaker said that if the U.S. president "passes this information to other governments at will, then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world."
Germany is heavily dependent on U.S. intelligence.
The Kremlin has dismissed reports that Donald Trump shared classified information with Russian officials last week as "complete nonsense."
The Washington Post's report on Monday claimed that the revelation made by Trump during his meeting with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday dismissed the reports as "yet more nonsense" and said that Moscow doesn't "want to have to do anything with it," adding that "there is nothing to confirm or deny."
President Donald Trump is using Twitter to defend his sharing of information with the Russians.
Trump says he wanted to share with Russia "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety." He notes that as president, he has an "absolute right" to do this.
The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump divulged highly classified "code-word" information that could enable the Russians to trace the source of the intelligence.
Trump added a line in his tweet suggesting why he did it: "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism."
Russia's foreign ministry spokesman has denied reports that President Donald Trump revealed classified information to senior officials during the Russian minister's visit to the Oval Office last week.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that the revelation put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk.
Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, on Facebook on Tuesday described the reports as "yet another fake."
The reports came several days after the White House faced criticism for a possible security breach after it allowed a Russian news service photographer into the Oval Office to snap photos of Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last week.
—Associated Press reporter Paisley Dodds in London.
Jordan says King Abdullah II is to speak by phone Tuesday with President Donald Trump.
The Royal Court says arrangements for the call were made last week.
The conversation will take place amid a report by The Washington Post that Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials at a meeting last week, putting a source of intelligence about the Islamic State extremist group at risk.
Jordan is a key ally in the U.S.-led international military coalition against Islamic State, which controls territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
The Post, citing current and former U.S. officials, says Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull won't comment on a Washington Post report that President Donald Trump revealed classified information to Russian officials, or say whether the report will affect Australia's intelligence-sharing agreement with the U.S.
Australia is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing program with the U.S., Canada, Britain and New Zealand.
Turnbull declined to comment specifically on the report, but said during an interview Tuesday with Adelaide radio station 5AA that he is confident in the Australia-U.S. alliance. Turnbull called it "the bedrock of our national security."
New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee said in a statement that the report was rejected by senior U.S. officials. Brownlee said a resolution to the situation in Syria requires a concerted effort from the U.S. and Russia. Brownlee said he hopes the meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov "is a step towards that."
President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week, putting a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk, The Washington Post reported.
The disclosure late Monday drew strong condemnation from Democrats and a rare rebuke of Trump from some Republican lawmakers. 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 May 10 meeting.
H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, said: "The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known."
President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russia, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so.
Trump's tweets did not say whether he revealed classified information about the Islamic State group, as published reports have said and as a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The White House has pushed back against those reports, but has not denied that classified information was disclosed in the May 10 meeting between Trump and Russian diplomats. The Kremlin dismissed the reports as "complete nonsense."
The news reverberated around the world as countries started second-guessing their own intelligence-sharing agreements with the U.S.
A senior European intelligence official told the AP his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms that Trump shared classified details with Russian officials. Such sharing "could be a risk for our sources," the official said.
The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly
At the White House, Trump said in his tweets, "I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining ... to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism."
Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, a senior U.S official told AP. The classified information had been shared with the president by an ally, violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with that country, the official said.
Trump later was informed that he had broken protocol and White House officials placed calls to the National Security Agency and the CIA looking to minimize any damage.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly, would not say which country's intelligence was divulged.
The disclosure put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the disclosure on Monday.
The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have declined to comment.
The U.S. official said that Trump boasted about his access to classified intelligence in last week's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak. An excerpt from an official transcript of the meeting reveals that Trump told them, "I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day," he said.
Kislyak has been a central player in the snowballing controversy surrounding possible coordination between Trump's campaign and Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The revelations drew strong condemnation from Democrats and a rare rebuke of Trump from some Republican lawmakers. 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 May 10 meeting.
"The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation," said H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser. "At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known."
The revelations could further damage Trump's already fraught relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies. He's openly questioned the competency of intelligence officials and challenged their high-confidence assessment that Russia meddled in last year's presidential election to help him win. His criticism has been followed by a steady stream of leaks to the media that have been damaging to Trump and exposed an FBI investigation into his associates' possible ties to Russia.
The disclosure also risks harming his credibility with U.S. partners around the world ahead of his first overseas trip. The White House was already reeling from its botched handling of Trump's decision last week to fire James Comey, the FBI director who was overseeing the Russia investigation.
A European security official said sharing sensitive information could dampen the trust between the United States and its intelligence sharing partners. "It wouldn't likely stop partners from sharing life-saving intelligence with the Americans, but it could impact the trust that has been built, particularly if sharing such information exposes specific intelligence gathering methods," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak about such intelligence sharing.
The Royal Court in Jordan said that King Abdullah II was to speak by telephone with Trump later Tuesday.
The revelation also prompted cries of hypocrisy. Trump spent the campaign arguing that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should be locked up for careless handling of classified information.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also disputed the report. He said Trump discussed a range of subjects with the Russians, including "common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism." The nature of specific threats was discussed, he said, but not sources, methods or military operations.
The controversy engulfed the White House. Reporters spent much of the evening camped out adjacent to Press Secretary Sean Spicer's office, hoping for answers. At one point, an eagle-eyed reporter spotted a handful of staffers, including Spicer and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, walking toward the Cabinet Room.
Muffled yelling was heard coming from the area near the room, but after a reporter tweeted about the noise, press staffers quickly turned up their television volume, blasting the sound to drown out everything else.
Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Catherine Lucey, Jill Colvin and Ken Thomas and Jan M. Olsen contributed to this report from Washington. Associated Press writer Paisley Dodds contributed from London.