President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his meeting last week with two top Russian diplomats, in which he is alleged to have revealed highly sensitive intelligence, was “very, very successful.”
Trump, who answered one question after delivering a statement alongside visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, did not address the substance of the Washington Post report, which alleged that Trump shared highly classified information about an Islamic State threat with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. After answering the single question, Trump told reporters that he and Erdoğan were on their way to meetings.
“We had a very, very successful meeting with the foreign minister of Russia. Our fight is against ISIS, as Gen. McMaster said,” Trump said in response to a shouted question from a reporter, referring to the briefing that national security adviser H.R. McMaster had delivered earlier in the day. “I thought he said and I know he feels that we had actually a great meeting with the foreign minister, so we’re going to have a lot of great success over the next coming years, and we want to get as many to help fight terrorism as possible.”
The intelligence allegedly disclosed by Trump, according to the Post, concerned the Islamic State and was so sensitive that it had not been shared with many U.S. allies and is tightly controlled within government circles. McMaster, in a statement delivered Monday night to reporters outside the White House, said the Post’s report was “false” but on Tuesday, he would not deny that Trump had shared classified information.
“So what we don’t do is discuss what is, what isn’t classified,” McMaster told the press at the Tuesday briefing. “What I will tell you is in the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he’s engaged.”