clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Trump tweets his response to Russia classified info story: I'm allowed to do it

President Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in the Oval Office. Even if Russia didn’t help Trump win the election, his legitimacy is in question.
President Trump meets with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak.
Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Donald Trump has basically confirmed a Washington Post story accusing him of sharing highly classified information about ISIS last week during a meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador to the US. And he thinks there is no problem with that.

In his view, the president has complete authority to share highly sensitive information with whomever he chooses — though Trump doesn’t exactly confirm the information he shared was classified.

This is what he tweeted Tuesday morning:

In fact, Trump seems to think the real problem here is that people continue to leak information to the press, not that he leaked classified information to Russia.

Meanwhile, Trump’s administration has rushed to defend him. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said at a press conference Monday night that “the story that came out tonight, as reported, is false. … At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that “the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations.”

Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell said, “The story is false. The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”

It’s worth noting that each of these statements carefully sidesteps the specific claims set forth in the Washington Post piece, which said Trump discussed classified information, and that the information was specific enough that Russian intelligence could deduce the source of the information.

Trump’s advisers are rushing to issue non-denial denials while Trump himself tweets what amounts to confirmation of the story.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.