President Trump Says He Had ‘Absolute Right’ to Share Intelligence With Russia

May 16, 2017

President Donald Trump defended his sharing of classified intelligence with Russian officials on Twitter Tuesday morning, saying he had an "absolute right" to do so.

Trump shared highly classified information with Russian officials in a meeting last week, detailing an Islamic State threat focused on the use of laptops on airplanes, the Washington Post reported, citing current and former U.S. officials. The New York Times and BuzzFeed News were quick to confirm the story Monday evening.

Both Democrats and some Republicans criticized the release of classified information to Russian officials Monday evening.

In his first comment on the issue, Trump appeared to confirm details outlined in the report.

"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," Trump said in a series of tweets. "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism."

Trump's tweets contradicted a number of White House statements on the meeting, which denied that Trump had shared intelligence methods or sources with the Russians.

The conversation between Trump and Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak occurred at a meeting at the White House last week.

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