President Trump has taken to Twitter to admit he gave classified intelligence to Russian officials during a meeting in the Oval Office last week, defending his actions as his "absolute right."
His morning tweetstorm came the day after a bombshell report in The Washington Post Monday described how Trump gave intel about America's plans in the fight against ISIS to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak.
The president took to his favorite social media platform and said he had an “absolute right” to declassify the information to the two Russian officials.
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....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2017
...to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2017
I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2017
Trump’s tweets were a stark contradiction to denials by his surrogates, who bashed the report and discredited the newspaper Monday evening after the story went live.
"The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation," National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said. "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."
McMaster then added: “I was in the room, it didn't happen."
During the meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak, Trump did not permit American media to attend the conference. However, Russian state media was allowed into the event.
On Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for Vladimir Putin told CNN that The Washington Post intel story is "nonsense."
“We don't want to comment on nonsense fakes,” Dimitry Peskov said.
When further pressed by CNN on the intel-sharing and whether the Kremlin preferred "a more predictable partner," Peskov replied, “I think we’ve said more than enough on this.”