Trump defends decision to give classified info to Russia

Says he gave it out to help Russia fight ISIS

U.S. President Donald Trump came out to defend himself against another damaging accusation to his administration, this time being claims that he leaked classified information to Russian authorities. On Twitter, he wrote that he had an “absolute right” to offer information the United States had on “terrorism and airline flight safety”, claiming that it was necessary to help Russia in their joint fight against ISIS. Indeed, the President, as Commander In Chief, is allowed to declassify information when he deems necessary, but critics of the President have come out of the woodwork once more to cite this as further evidence of improper influence by Russia.

These claims first came out late on Monday, when The Washington Post reported that Trump offered up highly classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during a publicly disclosed meeting at the White House. Initially, White House officials, including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, claimed that the report was incorrect, before later backing off and giving the Trump version of the story. As for other Republicans, they were hesitant to place blame on Trump, but did express some worry about the disclosure of this type of information. A spokesman for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, “The speaker hopes for a full explanation of the facts from the administration.” Senator Bob Corker, Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was more critical about the alleged breach, calling the state of the administration’s foreign affairs a “downward spiral” and a “worrisome environment.”

This incident comes after the firing of FBI director James Comey last week, which also entailed miscommunication between Trump and his advisers. His aides said the firing was done on the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General on the basis of the Hillary Clinton probe, while Trump later contradicted those statements, saying the Russia investigations were a factor and that he would’ve fired Comey regardless of the Deputy Attorney General’s response.

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