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Trump Revealed Highly Classified Information To Russian Ambassador And Foreign Minister: WaPo

Authoritarianism

Trump Revealed Highly Classified Information To Russian Ambassador And Foreign Minister: WaPo

The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump divulged 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.

Officials told the Post that information was incredibly sensitive that “details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government” and had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement. The officials said that Trump’s disclosures could jeopardize a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump’s decision to do so risks 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 National Security Agency.

The Post adds:

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

The revelation comes as Trump faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump’s subsequent admission that his decision was driven by “this Russia thing” was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice.

“It is all kind of shocking,” said a former senior U.S. official close to current administration officials. “Trump seems to be very reckless, and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”

Read the full report in The Washington Post.

Shortly after President Trump’s closed-door Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Envoy Sergey Kislyak, Russian media and Russian government social media accounts shared pictures of the meeting.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted a photo of a handshake with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office.

The Russian embassy then followed up with a tweeted photo of Mr. Trump shaking hands with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. CBS News notes that this is the same ambassador who is currently “at the forefront of the ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling of the 2016 election.”

The Ministry account also tweeted a video of Lavrov mocking NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell at the State Department regarding a question about FBI Director James Comey’s firing.

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