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Trump Claims He Is Within His Rights To Dish Out State Secrets

President Trump, who is currently under fire for giving sensitive government intelligence to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting, pointed out Tuesday morning that he had an “absolute right” to share the information.

According to The Hill, Trump cited “humanitarian reasons” for his decision to provide the Russians with intelligence concerning ISIS. “I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism,” the president tweeted. He described the information as “facts pertaining … to terrorism and airline flight safety.” The president is the only U.S. official with the constitutional authority to share classified information.

The Washington Post published the first story about the incident. The “code-word” documents, which the newspaper’s sources called “highly classified,” reportedly contained intelligence about attempts by ISIS to conduct cyber attacks on airplane passengers’ laptop computers. CNN learned Tuesday morning that Israeli spies compiled the information, which was so sensitive that the United States had not even shared it with some allies.

Trump lashed out at the unidentified government operatives who told the news media about the documents. Referring to the FBI director he fired last week; the president tweeted: “I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community.”

According to The Hill, Trump’s acknowledgment that he gave the documents to Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador contradicted statements by national security adviser H.R. McMaster, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The officials disputed the Post article. “The story that came out tonight as reported is false,” McMaster told reporters Monday night at the White House. He said Trump and the Russians “reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation.”

The administration was already on the defensive for its Russian connections. The FBI, as well as the House and Senate intelligence committees, are investigating how Russian operatives interfered with the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with those efforts. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are among the Trump associates who had conversations last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

Source: TheHill
Photo: The White House/Flickr

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