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Trump Denies Israel Was Source Of Intelligence

| by Jordan Smith

President Donald Trump has denied that Israel was the source of the classified intelligence he allegedly shared with Russian officials at a White House meeting earlier in May.

Trump made the comments during a visit to Israel, where he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for talks, Politico reported.

After the meeting, a reporter asked Netanyahu about intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.

"The intelligence cooperation is terrific," Netanyahu answered, according to Politico.

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Media reports previously alleged that Israel was the source of the intelligence, which related to plans for terrorist attacks by the Islamic State group.

"Hey, folks," Trump said. "Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name 'Israel.' Never mentioned it during that conversation."

He then criticized the media portrayal of the meeting.

"They were all saying I did," the president added. "So you had another story wrong. Never mentioned the word 'Israel.'"

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As the two leaders left, Netanyahu reiterated that intelligence sharing was "terrific," before adding, "and it's never been better."

Trump previously said that his meeting with the Russian foreign minister was, "very, very successful." He tweeted that, as president, he had "the absolute right" to share information about plans for terrorist attacks.

The White House has maintained that no classified information was shared at the meeting.

"I don't know that there's anything to apologize for," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on his way to Israel.

Trump arrived in Israel May 22 after visiting Saudi Arabia, where he delivered a speech to the leaders of Islamic countries and urged them to confront radical terrorist groups. Trump said the Saudi Arabia trip gave him "new reasons for hope" that peace could be achieved in the Middle East.

He agreed with Netanyahu that unprecedented opportunities for peace existed because Israel could unite with Arab countries against Iran. Netanyahu stated that "common dangers are turning former enemies into partners," adding, "for the first time in my lifetime, I see a real hope for change," according to Bloomberg.

Trump also expressed hope that a deal between Israel and the Palestinine would be possible. He is scheduled to visit Palestinian-controlled territory May 23, where he will meet in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"I've heard it's one of the toughest deals of all, but I have a feeling we're going to get there eventually," Trump said.

Tillerson was more cautious, stating that the U.S. was trying to "manage our ambitions."

Sources: Politico, Bloomberg / Photo credit: The White House/Wikimedia Commons

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