Trump Defends “Absolute Right” to Share Information With Russian Officials

The president deviates from the White House’s narrative—again.

Shcherbak Alexander/TASS/ZUMA

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Following a Washington Post report that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats last week, Trump on Tuesday justified his “absolute right” to share information with Russian officials for “humanitarian” causes. In a pair of tweets, Trump appeared to confirm at least some elements of the explosive allegations.

Trump’s defense is a reversal of the administration’s initial denial: When the report was published on Monday, national security adviser H.R. McMaster refuted it as “false” and denied the president discussed “intelligence sources or methods” with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister. However, the Washington Post story never alleged exactly that. The report, which was later backed by independent reporting from the New York Times and BuzzFeed, cited several government sources claiming Trump revealed highly sensitive information that could potentially jeopardize an important intelligence-sharing partner.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry also denied that Trump had disclosed sensitive material during the Oval Office meeting, which was closed to American media but photographed by the Russian press.

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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