President Donald Trump acknowledged on Tuesday morning that he did share intelligence information with top Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting last week, declaring that “I have the absolute right” to inform the Russians about information related to terrorism and the Islamic State.
“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do,” the President tweeted, making his first comments on the latest major story to engulf the Trump White House.
Mr. Trump’s tweets included no attack on the news media, or on the Washington Post which first reported that he had given highly sensitive information from an intelligence ally to the Russians.
At the Washington Post, one of the reporters who wrote the original story yesterday, that Mr. Trump had given highly sensitive information to the Russians, said the President’s morning response had shown their report was true.
“Last night a stream of WH officials were sent out to blast WaPo story as false. This morning, Trump says it’s true,” wrote reporter Greg Miller on Twitter.
In fact, the President in his Tuesday morning tweets did not attack the Washington Post story – and other news organizations which confirmed the basics – which had been labeled as “false” by some White House officials on Monday night.
On Capitol Hill, Democrats blasted the President for his handling of classified information.
“President Trump has long been careless with the truth, but now he appears to have gone further,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
“President Trump shouldn’t worry about leaks. He is his own leak,” said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL).
But there were also Republicans who were not pleased.
“Sharing classified info to one of our enemies is a threat to our national security, troops on the ground and relationships with trusted allies,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).
As for leaks, the President added another tweet on that issue – but again did not say the original story was false.