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McMaster: Trump Talk with Russians 'Wholly Appropriate'

McMaster: Trump Talk with Russians 'Wholly Appropriate'

"That conversation was wholly appropriate to the conversation, and I think wholly appropriate what the expectations are of our intelligence partners", McMaster said, adding he was "not sure what conversations have been held" with foreign partners since the story broke. "Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of the state, remember the meeting the same way and have said so".

Later on May 16, McMaster appeared to embrace Trump's stance, repeatedly emphasizing at a White House briefing Trump's conduct was "wholly appropriate".

He is facing criticism, because the intelligence apparently came from a partner nation that did not authorise it being given to other countries. Did the president spontaneously on the spot decide to give that information over, or was there an inter-agency process or some kind of formal decision-making process in advance of that meeting with the Russians last week? Trump spent the campaign arguing that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should be locked up for careless handling of classified information.

Doing so "could be a risk for our sources", said the official, who spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

In the question-and-answer session that followed, McMaster said on eight separate occasions that Trump's revelations to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak were "wholly appropriate". "I think national security is put at risk by this leak and leaks like this", he said. He said Trump's comments "in no way" compromised intelligence sources and methods.

But the calls intensified Tuesday morning after Trump seemed to acknowledge on Twitter that he had shared sensitive information during his meeting with the Russians. Or the similar position he put Spicer, Sanders, and White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway in. That's not what Trump's been criticized for, but rather, the prudence of giving a geopolitical adversary like Russian Federation (although he seems not to see it that way) highly sensitive information that could out an American intelligence operative. The official said the information Trump divulged came from a USA intelligence partner.

Trump is reported to have shared specific information about an ISIS plan to target airlines in a way that the New York Times says "could expose the source of the information and the manner in which it was collected".

The country's security can rest heavily on the level of trust between the president and the heads of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Director of National Intelligence.

"It's not helpful that this was the Russians", said Sen.

For the leader of Senate Republicans, the biggest concern is that the controversy over Trump's sharing of secrets - with the successor to what Republican President Ronald Reagan once labeled the "evil empire" - is that it's distracting lawmakers from their legislative program.

"The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation", said H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that if the story is true it would be "deeply disturbing". "We have to make sure we have a high degree of confidence in all our organizations so we can do what we need to do for the president".

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY called Tuesday for the transcripts of the meeting with the Russian officials to be released to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller even said this authority "will not be questioned" by anyone, including the media.

The Wednesday meeting between Trump, Lavrov and Kislyak had already raised alarm bells in Washington, primarily because it came one day after Trump made a decision to fire Comey while the bureau investigated his campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation. AP writer Paisley Dodds contributed from London.


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