Some Republicans are calling for President Donald Trump to disclose what he told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during a recent White House visit.
According to the Washington Post, the information that Trump shared with the Russian diplomats was highly classified intelligence that U.S. allies and many lawmakers had not seen.
Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia released a statement on her website on May 16 that called for "immediate classified briefings" so that Congress could know as much as the Russians:
Once again we are faced with inexplicable stories coming from the White House that are highly troubling. We need to have immediate classified briefings on what occurred at this meeting so that Congress can at least know as much as Russian leaders and know the impact on our national security, our allies, and our men and women protecting our country.
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Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine released a similar statement, notes The Hill:
Although the President has the legal authority to disclose classified information, it would be very troubling if he did share such sensitive reporting with the Russians. The Senate Intelligence Committee should be briefed on this important issue immediately.
Collins, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said there were "conflicting reports" about what Trump told the Russians, and she added that "the disclosure of highly classified information has the potential to jeopardize sources and to discourage our allies from sharing future information vital to our security."
Trump tweeted about the news reports on May 16:
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As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining....
...to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.
During a press conference on May 16, National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster would not explicitly deny reports that Trump leaked highly classified information to the Russians:
I stand by my statement that I made yesterday. What I'm saying is really the premise of that article is false, that in any way the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or that resulted in any kind of lapse in national security.
McMaster then suggested that reporters go after people who leaked information to reporters: "Our national security has been put at risk by those violating confidentiality, and those releasing information to the press that could ... make American citizens and others more vulnerable."