Trump Defends Right To Share Info With Russia

Added On May 17, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday tweeted he has "the absolute right" to share certain information with Russia.

His statement comes after aides rejected media reports saying he shared intelligence with Russian officials in the White House last week.

Trump responded to the accusations of intelligence divulgence on Twitter, saying on Tuesday:  "As President 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," he said in a pair of tweets Tuesday morning.
Trump also tweeted Tuesday he had asked former FBI Director James Comey, whom he fired last week, "to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community ..."
However, Trump did not explicitly say on Twitter whether he passed classified information to Russian officials.
The U.S. president reportedly passed information from a critical intelligence source on IS activity in Iraq and Syria to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last week.
The Washington Post first reported the disclosure on Monday evening, followed by the New York Times and others.
The Post reported the intelligence was given through an information-sharing arrangement but was considered so sensitive that details were withheld from allies and restricted within the U.S. government itself.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell issued statements on Monday claiming the reports were false.

U.S. media said that as the president has broad authority to declassify government secrets, it is unlikely Trump broke the law with his disclosures.