Political News

The Latest: National security adviser to brief reporters

Posted May 16

— The Latest on the report that President Donald Trump shared classified information with Russian officials (all times EDT):

10:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser plans to brief reporters at the White House.

The White House says H.R. McMaster will hold an on-camera briefing before noon. He was originally scheduled to appear with press secretary Sean Spicer, but Spicer plans to hold a separate, off-camera session with reporters later in the day, after McMaster's appearance.

Reporters had been promised a briefing from McMaster about Trump's first overseas trip, which opens Friday. But McMaster is likely to face questions about reports that Trump shared classified intelligence information with Russian officials when they met in the Oval Office last week.

McMaster has denied the reports, telling reporters Monday after the story broke: "I was in the room. It didn't happen."


10:45 a.m.

The Senate's top Democrat says Congress needs to have immediate access to a transcript of President Donald Trump's meeting at the White House last week with senior Russian officials.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York says that if Trump has "nothing to hide," he'll turn over unedited transcripts to the House and Senate intelligence committees. If Trump refuses, Schumer says Americans will doubt that their president is capable of safeguarding critical secrets.

The request came in response to published reports that the president revealed classified information about the Islamic State group in the meeting with Russian officials.

Congress is investigating Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including hacking Democratic emails.


10:40 a.m.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain says reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week are "deeply disturbing."

The Arizona Republican said Tuesday that it sends a troubling signal to U.S. allies and partners around the world. McCain also said in a statement that reports that the information was provided by a U.S. ally and shared without the country's knowledge could mean that other countries won't share intelligence with Americans in the future.

He said the time Trump spent sharing sensitive information was time he did not spend focused on Russia's aggressive behavior, including interference in elections, and its illegal invasion of Ukraine.


9:35 a.m.

The Senate's top Republican says "we can do with a little less drama from the White House" so the GOP can focus on advancing the party's legislative agenda.

Appearing Tuesday morning on Bloomberg Business, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was responding to reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information about the Islamic State group to Russian officials.

McConnell says, "I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda." He said the agenda is deregulation, tax reform and repealing and replacing the health care law.

McConnell also says he recommended to Trump that he nominate Merrick Garland to replace fired FBI Director James Comey. Garland, the federal judge nominated to the Supreme Court last year by President Barack Obama, was denied a Senate hearing by McConnell.


9:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump says more attention should be paid to find who is leaking information to the media.

The Washington Post first reported that Trump's closed-door remarks with the Russians jeopardize a valuable intelligence source on the Islamic State group.

Trump defended himself in a tweet Tuesday by saying he had an "absolute right" to share what he wanted.

In a follow-up tweet, Trump said he had asked ousted FBI Director James Comey and others "from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community."


9:25 a.m.

A senior European intelligence official tells The Associated Press that his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms President Donald Trump shared classified details with Russian officials.

The official said Tuesday that doing so "could be a risk for our sources."

The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

-By Jan M. Olsen


8:25 a.m.

A senior German lawmaker has expressed concern about reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information about the Islamic State group to Russian officials.

Burkhard Lischka said in a statement to The Associated Press that "if it proves to be true that the American president passed on internal intelligence matters that would be highly worrying."

Lischka, who sits on the German parliament's intelligence oversight committee, noted that Trump has access to "exclusive and highly sensitive information including in the area of combating terrorism."

The Social Democratic Party lawmaker said that if the U.S. president "passes this information to other governments at will, then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world."

Germany is heavily dependent on U.S. intelligence.


8:25 a.m.

The Kremlin has dismissed reports that Donald Trump shared classified information with Russian officials last week as "complete nonsense."

The Washington Post's report on Monday claimed that the revelation made by Trump during his meeting with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday dismissed the reports as "yet more nonsense" and said that Moscow doesn't "want to have to do anything with it," adding that "there is nothing to confirm or deny."


7:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump is using Twitter to defend his sharing of information with the Russians.

Trump says he wanted to share with Russia "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety." He notes that as president, he has an "absolute right" to do this.

The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump divulged highly classified "code-word" information that could enable the Russians to trace the source of the intelligence.

Trump added a line in his tweet suggesting why he did it: "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism."


6:40 a.m.

Russia's foreign ministry spokesman has denied reports that President Donald Trump revealed classified information to senior officials during the Russian minister's visit to the Oval Office last week.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that the revelation put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, on Facebook on Tuesday described the reports as "yet another fake."

The reports came several days after the White House faced criticism for a possible security breach after it allowed a Russian news service photographer into the Oval Office to snap photos of Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last week.

—Associated Press reporter Paisley Dodds in London.


4:30 a.m.

Jordan says King Abdullah II is to speak by phone Tuesday with President Donald Trump.

The Royal Court says arrangements for the call were made last week.

The conversation will take place amid a report by The Washington Post that Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials at a meeting last week, putting a source of intelligence about the Islamic State extremist group at risk.

Jordan is a key ally in the U.S.-led international military coalition against Islamic State, which controls territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

The Post, citing current and former U.S. officials, says Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.


3:30 a.m.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull won't comment on a Washington Post report that President Donald Trump revealed classified information to Russian officials, or say whether the report will affect Australia's intelligence-sharing agreement with the U.S.

Australia is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing program with the U.S., Canada, Britain and New Zealand.

Turnbull declined to comment specifically on the report, but said during an interview Tuesday with Adelaide radio station 5AA that he is confident in the Australia-U.S. alliance. Turnbull called it "the bedrock of our national security."

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee said in a statement that the report was rejected by senior U.S. officials. Brownlee said a resolution to the situation in Syria requires a concerted effort from the U.S. and Russia. Brownlee said he hopes the meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov "is a step towards that."


3:13 a.m.

President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week, putting a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk, The Washington Post reported.

The disclosure late Monday drew strong condemnation from Democrats and a rare rebuke of Trump from some Republican lawmakers. White House officials denounced the report, saying the president did not disclose intelligence sources or methods to the Russians, though officials did not deny that classified information was disclosed in the May 10 meeting.

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


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  • Edward Anderson May 16, 1:37 p.m.
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    No, wait, that should have been 'none of his puppets can tell alternative facts like he can'

  • Edward Anderson May 16, 1:09 p.m.
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    I thought Donnie had decided there weren't going to be any more press conferences because none of his people can spin lies the way he wants them to.

  • Rod Runner May 16, 12:01 p.m.
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    Unless McMaster is going to say, "yes, the President leaked higher than top secret information to an adversary and compromised an ally that will no longer provide us with secret information and the President should be further investigated," I see no point for this press conference. He's just going to vomit the same thing he did yesterday.

  • Megan Goodson May 16, 11:59 a.m.
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    ...so when can we get rid of Trump and his cronies? He has done so many illegal and dangerous things for the american people and each time we let him get away with it. Impeach him already.

  • Ralph Savary May 16, 11:23 a.m.
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    "McConnell says GOP could use 'less drama"

    You think!! They should replace Spicer with Jerry Springer!

  • Tom Baker May 16, 10:40 a.m.
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    Trump is a show man. Drama is one of the few things he is good at.