Trump talk with Russians 'wholly appropriate,' adviser says

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The Russian government today dismissed a Washington Post report that President Trump shared classified information with members of the Russian government during a meeting last week, calling it "nonsense" devoid of facts.

U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser has denied a Washington Post report that the president revealed highly classified information to Russian officials during a meeting last week. He appeared to be suggesting that Trump had not knowingly compromised a confidential source, but the statement also indicated that the president had not asked his advisers for detailed information about the intelligence report he'd received.

Bob Corker, the Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Monday the allegations were "very, very troubling".

Asked about concerns Trump could have jeopardized United States intelligence relationships by sharing with Russian Federation information supplied by an ally, McMaster responded: "I'm not concerned at all".

US intelligence officials in January reportedly warned their Israeli counterparts against sharing information with the Trump administration, saying it could be leaked to Russian Federation and forwarded to Iran.

Sharing this information with Russia would be a major concern because it could help the Russians figure out how the USA obtained the information. "What I will tell you again is that what the president shared was wholly appropriate", he said.

Our ally had not given permission to share it.

McMaster insisted that the revelations would not harm intelligence sharing agreements with US allies, arguing that everything the president discussed was already available through "open-sourced reporting". During a stop in Saudi Arabia, he'll meet with important Arab allies working with the US on the fight against the Islamic State. "It is very easy for those allegiances to falter completely".

What is remarkable about this is that reports in the Israeli press from January said that U.S. intelligence officials had warned their Israeli counterparts about sharing intelligence with President Trump because of fears he might share such intelligence with Russian Federation.

Doing so "could be a risk for our sources", he told the news agency.

The information discussed in the Lavrov conversation was reportedly deemed so sensitive that it had not been discussed with other US allies besides Israel.

In the meeting with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister, Mr. Trump disclosed intelligence about an Islamic State terrorist plot.

Other intelligence experts who spoke to VICE News said that while Trump's actions will have made America's intelligence partners nervous, intelligence-sharing relationships such as Five Eyes were too robust and valuable to be seriously affected by the incident.

McMaster did not confirm or deny that Trump had shared classified information; or that said information was given to the an intelligence partner; or that Trump had disclosed the location where that intelligence was gathered.

"It was nothing that you would not know from open-source reporting", he said.

"On this particular matter, there needs to be more clarity" and "less drama", Watkins said. "They would want to be assured that there was a clear process and discipline in the way that this information was handled".

Controversy over Russian Federation has also laid bare sharp divisions between the White House and USA intelligence agencies, which concluded in January that Russian Federation had tried to influence the election in Trump's favour.

The news reverberated around the world as countries started second-guessing their own intelligence-sharing agreements with the U.S. "We have to work together in some critical areas'".

Several former Israeli officials earlier on Tuesday refrained from commenting, explaining that the picture was unclear or that they expected Israel was not the country in question and, therefore, wanted to stay out of the sensitive issue.

Trump departs on Friday for his first overseas trip as president, travelling to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium on visits that will test his foreign policy skills.



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