‘It didn’t happen’: McMaster denies Trump disclosed classified information to Russia

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Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts during a news conference at the construction site of the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office Building in Washington.
US President Donald Trump signed revised EO on immigration. Reuters/Jim Bourg

US President Trump’s National Security Adviser General HR McMaster labelled a report that claimed the POTUS disclosed highly classified information to two top Russian officials last week as another fake news. He assured that there is nothing that Trump takes more seriously than the security of the American people.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that current and former US officials revealed Trump’s disclosure of classified information risked a crucial source of intelligence on the Islamic State. The data he shared was reportedly provided by a US partner through a sensitive intelligence-sharing arrangement.

The report added that there was no permission from the partner to share the information with Russia. Senior White House officials contacted the CIA and the National Security Agency to contain the damage. The Washington Post opted not to name its sources.

But McMaster has delivered a short statement to reporters outside the White House to deny the news, calling the story “false.” He said Trump did not reveal any military operations that were not already available to the public, noting Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed the same thing.

“I was in the room. It didn’t happen,” McMaster said. Powell echoed his statement, also calling the story false and saying Trump only talked about the common threat that both countries faced.

Tillerson said nature of specific threats was discussed, but sources, methods or military operations were not talked about. The United States and Russia both regard the Islamic State as an enemy.

'Very, very problematic' if true

Meanwhile, two former officials who has knowledge about the situation confirmed to CNN that Trump shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister. "It sounds like White House is parsing words by saying 'didn't discuss sources or methods' as a weak cover your a**," a former officer reportedly said.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, said it would be "very, very problematic" if true. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, felt the same way, telling reporters the story was "troubling, if true."

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia took to Twitter to react about the Washington Post story. He said if it’s true, it would be a slap in the face to the intel community.

Republican Sen. James Risch of Idaho, on the other hand, defended the president. He argued that Trump has the ability to declassify anything at any time without any process the minute he speaks about it to someone.

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