Archive for Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trump revealed highly classified info to Russia, reportedly putting source at risk

This handout photo released by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows President Donald Trump meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.  (Russian Foreign Ministry via AP)

This handout photo released by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows President Donald Trump meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Russian Foreign Ministry via AP)

May 16, 2017, 8:37 a.m. Updated May 16, 2017, 1:54 p.m.

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— Pushing back against allegations of damaging intelligence disclosures, President Donald Trump's national security adviser insisted Tuesday that Trump's revelations to Russian officials about the terrorist threat from the Islamic State group were "wholly appropriate" and amounted to a routine sharing of information.

H.R. McMaster added that none of the U.S. officials present for the president's Oval Office meeting with the Russian foreign minister last week "felt in any way that that conversation was inappropriate." He used the words "wholly appropriate" nine separate times.

Trump himself 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 IS, as published reports have said and as a U.S. official told The Associated Press.

McMaster, in a White House briefing, said: "In the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he is engaged."

He cast some of Trump's revelations as information that was available from publicly available "open-source reporting" and added that the president did not know the precise source of the intelligence he had shared, suggesting that Trump could not have compromised confidential sources.

Still, the White House has not expressly denied that classified information was disclosed in the Oval Office meeting between Trump and Russian diplomats last week. 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.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans alike expressed concern about the president's disclosures. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the reports "deeply disturbing" and said they could affect the willingness of U.S. allies and partners to share intelligence with the U.S.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the intelligence uproar a distraction from GOP priorities such as tax reform and replacing the health care law.

"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 told Bloomberg Business.

Doug Andres, a spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, said the speaker was looking for "a full explanation of the facts from the administration."

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for Congress to have immediate access to a transcript of Trump's meeting with the Russians, saying that if Trump refuses, Americans will doubt that their president is capable of safeguarding critical secrets.

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."

Later Tuesday, Trump told reporters he'd had a "very, very successful meeting" with Lavrov. He promised that "we're going to have a lot of great success over the next coming years" in the fight against IS "and we want to get as many to help fight terrorism as possible."

A senior U.S. official told AP that 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. 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.

Asked why the NSA and CIA were put on notice if the revelations were not problematic, McMaster cast the notification as being provided "from an overabundance of caution."

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. CIA Director Mike Pompeo was to brief members of the House intelligence committee later in the day.

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.

On Monday, McMaster told reporters: "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."

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.

The Royal Court in Jordan said that King Abdullah II and Trump spoke by phone about anti-terror cooperation and other issues Tuesday, a conversation that was scheduled last week.

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 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.

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 months, 1 week ago

Lock him up!! Lock him up!!! LOCK HIM UP!!!!!

It has been reported that the "president" is a "loose cannon".

Wasn't that what the fools at the Republican "Convention" were screaming about Mrs. Clinton??

Turnabout is hell, eh??

Brock Masters 2 months, 1 week ago

Fred calls those screaming lock her up fools and then screams lock him up. Hello Fred, don't you get that you just called yourself a fool?

Dude, you're priceless. Never stop posting.

Paul Youk 2 months, 1 week ago

Caveat: Trump actually committed treason.

Brandon Devlin 2 months, 1 week ago

There was a lot said about Madam Clinton at the RNC, but I don't think I ever heard anyone call her a "loose cannon."

And while I cannot defend him giving classifed information to the Russian Foreign Minister, it at least seems plausible, unlike someone sending classified information to someone like Anthony Weiner.

Armen Kurdian 2 months, 1 week ago

Your link didn't work, but I think you are referring to Scooter Libby outing a CIA name, and he was convicted of a felony for doing so.

Richard Aronoff 2 months, 1 week ago

So what's all the excitement about? Remember when the Russians told the Unites States about the Boston bomber brothers. Remember when electronic devices were banned on certain flights coming into the country? That information was available in newspapers across the country.

I'm really tires of sources who wish to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature or the situation. Here's how it works:

A real reporter -- not a blogger -- publishes a story in the LJW that a source who wishes to remain anonymous has revealed that Fred Whitehead has been an underground member of the KKK for years and uses his frequent anti-Hitler comments to mask his real activities.

When Fred denies the story and asks for the source of the information, the reporter will wrap himself in the first amendment and there's not a damn thing Fred could do.

So here we are with an anonymous source saying that Trump told the Russians about a laptop threat that had been reported in the press weeks ago. And Rachel Maddow gets so excited that she slides right off her anchor chair.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 1 week ago

Yes, Richard, everyone knows about the possibility of a explosives in electronic devices, thus the ban; that's not classified. But we do not know the means in which they gathered that information. It's my understanding that is what he shared with the Russians, and he did not share it with our allies. That's the problem. Warning everyone that they have found intelligence of explosives in electronic devices is one thing.Telling people how you got it is the classified stuff. I certainly hope he didn't put others in danger, like Trump/Cheney did when they outed Valerie Plame.

As to the anonymous sources, reporters have been using them for years. You are probably young, but I was alive for the whole Nixon fiasco. If it wasn't for the anonymous source, we wouldn't have found out about him either. Of course, there are still people who defend Nixon and company and think the "liberal" press railroaded them, but you and I know the only reason that Nixon didn't join his buddies in jail is because Ford pardoned him. A court would have tried and convicted him.

Richard Aronoff 2 months, 1 week ago

Valerie Plame was not outed by Trump/Cheney. She was outed by Richard Armitage who passed the name to Robert Novak.

By the way, after Greenwald outed the name of the woman featured in "Zero Dark Thirty" Plame had no problem with the outing and republished the name herself.

Gary Stussie 2 months, 1 week ago

Don't you just love it when a bunch of Lawrence snowflake criticize a billionaire who got HIMSELF elected President. I wonder what Whiteheads response would have been to someone who went into one of Fred's name calling rants when President Obama was at the helm? Hey Fred ... rumor has it anther Supreme Court Justice is retiring in July! One down 2 to go!

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 months, 1 week ago

Hey Gary...Did I EVER make any statements about the selection for the Supreme Court??Do you always make these hasty decisions about people you have never met?

Sort of weird, you know.

Brock Masters 2 months, 1 week ago

Interesting info about Fred. Did not know it.

There is a reason a person has a Constitutional right to confront their accuser. People say all kinds of things anonymously and you cannot evaluate their credibility.

In this case consider the person was not authorized to speak publicly but did so in violation of their terms of employment. I don't give a person who makes up their own rules much credibility. Doesn't mean it isn't true, but it should be verified fro multiple sources before accepting it as Gospel.

Still amazed to learn that about Fred. You just never know nowadays.

Richard Aronoff 2 months, 1 week ago

Dorothy: I'm a lot older that you seem to think I am!

The fact that our government shares classified information with another government is nothing new. And if politics makes strange bedfellows international politics makes stranger bedfellows.

Russia has a bigger ISIS problem than the United States. If a US intelligence agency knew about a specific terrorist threat against the Russian homeland why wouldn't we let them know about that threat?

The source of the information was not compromised by the president informing the Russian ambassador. If the source has been compromised that source was compromised by the Washington Post.

Larry Sturm 2 months, 1 week ago

Trump has plenty of infractions he needs to be impeached before he takes the American democracy down the tubes. Trump is a bomb ready to explode.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 months, 1 week ago

Oooohhhhh better be careful, Larry!! The "Bobs" and his pals will getcha!! They love and worship him you know!!

Kyle Roggenkamp 2 months, 1 week ago

despicable how republicans can still, after everything we have seen, stand up for Trump. We are honestly in unchartered waters here folks. When people are willing to sell their souls to the devil just to push through an agenda. 2018 cannot get here soon enough. This needs to end now. call us snowflakes for being upset about this travesty of a "presidency"? Compare Trump incompetency to Hillary's emails, still?. I just cannot tell if this is a matter of intelligence or just a plain lack of honor. Either way, it's disgusting.

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

What's the fuss. A lot of fuss over fake news.

The folks in the room said nothing that the Washington Post said was true. The post story quoted anonymous sources.

Ah the Hive at work. It swarms at anything, especially if it thinks it can sting its favorite target.

The show thhey are nothing more than minions for the media.

Kyle Roggenkamp 2 months, 1 week ago

the fake news bit is getting old David. Grow up, grow a pair, and do your job as an "informed citizen". the country depends on it.

Kyle Roggenkamp 2 months, 1 week ago

and the fact that you call it fake news when Trump admitted to sharing the classified information just shows how far gone you are. oh my lord it's just sad.

Justin Hoffman 2 months, 1 week ago

Simmer down Kyle, you'll burst something.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 months, 1 week ago

David.....you dissed yourself the moment you used the fraud "fake news".

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

Kyle, I have, & it seems better informed than you. It seems you and others on this page are ranting at a nonsubject.

The President has the legal authority to release any information he wishes when he feels it is appropriate. None of what the WP story is true. They quoted anonymous sources & we do not know if anything about their integrity. The Hive members are whining about something of which they no absolutely nothing.

The key officials that were in the room say the President acted appropriately.

Kyle, your passion for the media's line is admirable. You just need to stop following the Hive swarm and think for yourself.

It's such a relief.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 1 week ago

So what he did was fake news, until it wasn't, but it's okay, because he was in his right. So it wasn't fake news, so why don't you admit that you were wrong. I dare you to have some integrity.

Richard Heckler 2 months, 1 week ago

Where are the special prosecutors? with a large FBI team!

Why did republicans choose to support a damn fool like Trump?

How many do we need for this administration?

Watergate,Iran Contra,several financial fiascos have occurred under the conservative umbrella since Reagan/Bush. So to say there is not a pattern is nonsense.

Why shouldn't law enforcement be interested in a man who got bailed out of bankruptcy through Russian crime bosses? http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/donald-trump-was-bailed-out-bankruptcy-russia-crime-bosses

Ego mania is getting in the way of law enforcement, practical and pragmatic government !

Which is the greater threat to USA security and/or foreign policy?

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/donald-trump-was-bailed-out-bankruptcy-russia-crime-bosses

Associating with Russian Crime Bosses makes Trump a perfect target for blackmail.

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

Personally, I believe folks who rant & rave incoherently are a risk to the Hive. They cast the Hive in a worse light than it is already.

What is to be gained from your rant? Where is a coherent thought that contributes to the discussion of any point made in this blog?

The spewing of incoherent ramblings is a trademark of irrational dislike, but reinforces the idea that such rants don't contribute to the discussion.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 1 week ago

You just hived by claiming fake news, like Trump's people did at first, then you mimicked their excuse, saying he really did what was reported, but it's okay because he is president. So just keep on hiving, David. Rush would be so proud.

Brock Masters 2 months, 1 week ago

Richard Heckler wrote, "Why did republicans choose to support a damn fool like Trump?"

Richard and others don't get it. The GOP didn't support Trump and the GOP along with establishment Republicans did all they could to stop him from becoming president.

Trump fought, bullied and rode a wave of dissatisfaction with the establishment government to the presidency. It wasn't just Republicans that voted for him, but a diverse group of Americans that are tired of politics as usual.

Add an arrogant, incompetent and unlikeable opponent who stole her party's nomination and you have Trump as president.

David Reynolds 2 months, 1 week ago

It's amazing the denial exhibited by tge alt-left & how they deny "fake news" & the bias of the media.

I wonder why after 24 hours no one in the left leaning media is covering the FBI investigation of Jane Sanders for fraud she committed while President of Burlington University.

Yes that's the wife of "feel the Bern" Bernie Sanders.

Amazing I had to happen upon it at a blog site.

To me "Fake News" is not just "making stuff up" & quoting spurious anonymous sources, it's also ignoring real news, especially when it will tarnish the Dem brand.

The media is lazy lazy lazy in their investigations & over zealous in putting out stories trying to damage the Republicans. Everything one reads in the left learning media should be categorized as opinion...not real news!

All the alt-left commentators who blog here must be rally proud of support for a mefia thst lies via omission & commission.

Brock Masters 2 months, 1 week ago

I agree with you.

And while I support the media investigating and reporting on transgressions of elected officials it is hard to miss the fervor of their reporting on any real or fake Trump transgression especially when juxtaposed against the lack of reporting on Obama. Could you imagine the coverage and outrage of the media if Trump was involved in Fast and Furious or caught on a hot mic suggesting he wanted to work with the Russians but wait until the election?

Paul Youk 2 months, 1 week ago

LJW staff, I think you have sourced this photo improperly. The Associated Press--all US Press for that matter, was not allowed at this meeting.

I believe your credit should be "Russian Foreign Ministry" or perhaps "Russian Foreign Ministry photo via AP".

Paul Youk 2 months, 1 week ago

Thanks for the morning laugh, LJW commenters. Trump gives classified information to a foreign adversary in the Oval, and your retort is nonsense non-issues like Jane Sanders and Fast and Furious. He may have the legal right to do so (or may not, considering this wasn't just internal US classified info, but info shared from a foreign ally), but even if he gets away with it legally, the scale of that impeachable error transcends Watergate.

People who continue to support Trump are just telling the other 2/3rds of us, "I am morally and intellectually bankrupt". Thank you for wearing it on your sleeve.

Brock Masters 2 months, 1 week ago

Hmmm...Trump shared Intel to help stop terroris attacks and he is bad. Clinto sells them Uranium, you know bomb making stuff, and she good.

Kyle Roggenkamp 2 months, 1 week ago

Oh my lanta stop bringing up Hillary you ideologically bankrupt fool!

Brock Masters 2 months, 1 week ago

Rush roh.... Looks like I struck a nerve. Hillary, the gift that keeps giving.

Armen Kurdian 2 months, 1 week ago

you have absolutely no concept of what classified information is, what it entails, why it is classified, how it is shared, etc. The President is the highest Original Classification Authority in the country, so if he wants to share something, he is absolutely legally protected and entitled to do so. It's so beyond laughable you suggest it's an impeachable offense.

Gary Stussie 2 months, 1 week ago

The constant attack on a seated president by the media as it panders to the left does this nation great harm. Do you really believe that the best way to get Democrats back in power is endless riots, rants and criticism? Seems to me the left has moved way past the point of diminishing returns in that regard. I suspect that clear thinking Americans, when they see representatives of the left rioting, dividing and foaming at the mouth when they discuss President Trump, will opt to distance themselves from that "vision" of America.

Richard Heckler 2 months, 1 week ago

Most of the mainstream media is being bought up by a variety of conservative monopolies which means there will very little information of truth . Some of these thinkers believe American history should begin with Reagan/Bush = straight from the mouths of Mr and Mrs Cheney doing an NPR talk show.

Some of these thinkers want to own our public education system = red flag !!!!!!

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