Trump responds to reports that he revealed classified info to Russian Federation

Your afternoon shot of politics, sent straight from the desk of Joshua Miller.

White House officials however came to the president's defense, with National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster denying the reports, saying "there's nothing the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people".

McMaster's statement that "the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known" is in the same vein - suggesting The Post has reported something that it hasn't in order to deny something.

At the end, McMaster refers to his own account and that of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and says, "I was in the room".

The Washington Post had reported that Trump revealed highly classified information on the Islamic State group during a meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Moscow's man in Washington Sergey Kislyak. Trump said in an interview that Comey's ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation in the 2016 presidential election had factored into Trump's decision to fire him.

The anonymous officials told the Washington Post that the information Mr Trump relayed during the Oval Office meeting had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement.

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CNN has previously reported that the U.S. government was concerned that even revealing some specific details about efforts to counter the ISIS plot would endanger sources and methods, even if sources and methods were not specifically described. Several other news agencies, including The New York Times and Reuters, also confirmed the reports, citing unidentified sources.

There is nothing illegal about Donald Trump reportedly telling the Russian foreign minister about a planned Isis operation. Interfax news agency quoted the Russian foreign ministry saying they were "fake". McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, added "reports that this information was provided by a USA ally and shared without its knowledge sends a troubling signal to American's allies and partners around the world, and may impair their willingness to share intelligence with us in the future". He's questioned the competence of intelligence officials, challenged their assessment that Russian Federation meddled in last year's election to help him win, and accused them of leaking information about him and his associates.

Notably, neither Trump nor his advisers - including McMaster - have explicitly denied the president shared classified intelligence.

The disclosure also risks harming his credibility with USA partners around the world ahead of his first overseas trip.

The meeting happened the day after Mr Trump sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, who was in charge of investigating whether the President's campaign colluded with Russian Federation to swing the election. He said that as "an intelligence officer by training, I know firsthand the life and death implications of safeguarding classified information". Still, it will only heighten Mr Trump's strained relations with intelligence workers and former officials, who view Russian Federation as an adversary.

Trump's tweets did not say whether he revealed classified information about the Islamic State group, as published reports have said and as a USA official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Revealing classified information at this level is extremely unsafe and puts at risk the lives of Americans and those who gather intelligence for our country", the NY senator said.

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The revelation of the sharing of information also prompted cries of hypocrisy.

The FBI concluded that no criminal charges against Ms Clinton were warranted, but Mr Comey said she and her colleagues had been "careless" with classified information. He did not say that the Russians offered any intelligence in return. This time around, the Post reported, the intelligence came from a United States ally that hadn't authorized Washington to share it, a development that could shatter essential trust for intelligence and counterterrorism cooperation.

The Kremlin came to Trump's defense, calling reports that he had disclosed classified material in the White House meeting as "complete nonsense".

But former defense secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta warned Tuesday that the fallout of breaching the trust of key allies by disclosing information could be significant.

Other Republicans, however, expressed concern.

"Effectively, Trump's actions have thrown the world's most important intel sharing relationship into doubt at best, serious jeopardy at worst", Stephanie Carvin, a former national security analyst for the Canadian government, said on Twitter, referring to the "Five Eyes" arrangement. He described the White House as "on a downward spiral".

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