A friend in need: Putin offers to provide records of Trump-Lavrov talks to prove Trump didn’t reveal classified info
Mediterranean Times - Thursday 18th May, 2017
Trump was faced with allegations that he revealed security secrets to Russian Foreign Minister
Putin called reports alleging that Trump revealed classified secrets as ‘political schizophrenia’
Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said there was no audio recording of the meeting, only a transcript is available
MOSCOW, Russia - An army of controversy has laid siege on Trump’s territory and help came from expected quarters on Wednesday.
Amongst the many scandalizing revelations made against Trump and his administration this week - possibly the most devastating one was that Trump revealed classified security secrets to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Now, calling the allegations “political schizophrenia”, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he was willing to offer a transcript of the controversial meeting to prove that no secrets were leaked.
Addressing a press conference, Putin said. “If the U.S. administration deems it possible, we are ready to provide the Senate and Congress with the transcript of the conversation between Lavrov and Trump.”
Moments later, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov followed up on Putin's statement and clarified that there was no audio recording at the Trump-Lavrov meeting, and the only form of record available is a transcript.
Further, mocking the claims, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a Facebook post, “Have you guys been reading American newspapers again? Don’t read them. They can be used in many different ways, but one shouldn’t read them – recently it has become not only harmful, but dangerous.”
Meanwhile, Putin added, more seriously, “We are seeing in the U.S. a developing political schizophrenia. There is no other way I can explain the accusations against the acting U.S. president that he gave away some secrets to Lavrov. Those who are destabilizing the internal U.S. political situation using anti-Russian slogans either don't understand that they are bringing this nonsense in on their own side, and then they are just stupid, or else they understand everything, and then they are dangerous and corrupt people. Anyway, this is a U.S. matter, and we don't want and don't plan to interfere.”
Classified or not?
It all started with a report in The Washington Post on Monday, that quoted current and former U.S. officials as revealing details of Trump’s highly controversial meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak - which came a day after Trump had fired Comey.
According to the officials, at the meeting, Trump had revealed highly classified information to the Russian officials, putting a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk.
The officials told the Post that Trump shared details about an ISIS terror threat, related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft, with the Russian officials.
The anonymous officials further pointed out that the information Trump relayed during the Oval Office meeting had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement.
The information was considered so sensitive, that details of it had even been withheld from allies and was tightly restricted even within the U.S. government.
The Post said in its report that the intelligence partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russian officials.
By sharing this critical piece of information nevertheless, Trump would have jeopardized cooperation from an ally that is familiar with the inner workings of the ISIS, and make other allies - or even U.S. intelligence officials - wary about sharing future top secret details with the president.
While the report drew strong condemnation from Democrats, it also attracted a rare rebuke of Trump from some Republican lawmakers.
Meanwhile, White House officials denounced the report and said the president did not disclose intelligence sources or methods to the Russians but failed to directly deny that classified information was disclosed in the May 10 meeting.
Further, after the reports appeared, Trump took to Twitter to put forward his argument - he said he had an "absolute right" and engaged in the discussion for "humanitarian reasons."
Without calling the information classified, Trump referred to the information as "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline safety."
Trump wrote in a two-part tweet, “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.”
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