Trump administration officials have gone public to refute a report that the president revealed highly classified information to the Russians in a recent meeting.
The Washington Post reported Monday evening that President Trump gave code-word level intelligence information to Sergey Lavrov in a meeting last week. But Secretary Tillerson, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and his deputy Dina Powell, who were the only other administration personnel in the meeting, came out on the record to say that the story “is false.”
McMaster first was quoted in the port saying, “The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”
McMaster also appeared just outside the White House later Monday evening to issue a quick statement.
“The story that came out tonight is false,” McMaster said. “At no time, no time, were sources and methods discussed.” He added, “I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”
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Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell said in a statement earlier that the story “is false.” She added, “The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also went on the record to refute the weakly sourced Washington Post article.
“During President Trump’s meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, a broad range of subjects were discussed among which were common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism,” Tillerson told reporters at the White House Monday evening. “During that exchange, the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations.”
All three administration officials present in the meeting have refuted the Post’s story based on “former and current officials” which likely include out-of-the-know Obama sympathizers that may be creating a crisis where none exists.
The original WaPo story reads like Russian propaganda. No named sources and shadowy figures leveling accusations of crisis-level events intended to call into question the president’s ability to lead the nation. The Washington Post may have jeopardized what little credibility it had left by publishing this story without having first got the people who were actually in the meeting to go on the record.