Israel was source of intel Trump shared with Russians


Later Tuesday, in a briefing with reporters on the President's upcoming foreign trip, McMaster stood by his Monday comments but seemingly nodded to the fact Trump had disclosed information.

"I just want to know what the truth is", she said. "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russian Federation to greatly step up their fight against [the Islamic State] & terrorism".

"I wanted to share with Russian Federation (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts terrorism and airline flight safety", Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he shared "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety" during the meeting.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, said during a press conference on Tuesday that Trump "wasn't even aware" of the source of classified information he reportedly disclosed to Russian diplomats last week. Coming days before Trump's first trip overseas, it also raised questions about his standing with world leaders and led some countries to start second-guessing their own intelligence-sharing agreements with the U.S.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turn-bull said he would maintain "my normal circumspection and discretion" on classified matters, adding the alliance with the United States "is the bedrock of our national security".

"The president owes the intelligence community, the American people and Congress a full explanation".

Israeli officials would not confirm that they were the source of the information that Trump shared.

"Mr President, this isn't about your "rights", but your responsibilities. You could jeopardize our sources, relationships and security".

But he declined to comment on the substance of the revelations about Trump's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak until he has spoken to the relevant officials. Newspapers there reported in January that US officials warned their Israeli counterparts to be careful about what they told the Trump administration because it could be leaked to the Russians, given Trump's openness toward President Vladimir Putin. GOP Senator Bob Corker (R - Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, declared that the Trump administration was in a "downward spiral".

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"It's not helpful that this was the Russians", said Sen.

In a series of tweets Tuesday morning, Trump defended his right to share information with Russian officials.

Parroting what has by now become a familiar White House talking point, McMaster said the real threat to United States national security were leaks emanating from the U.S. intelligence community to the press. "During that exchange, the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations", Tillerson said.

A report in the Washington Post said Mr Trump had confided top secret information relating to an IS plot thought to centre on the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

"If the report is true, it is very disturbing", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Kislyak was with Lavrov at the White House last week when Trump disclosed the sensitive information.

Comey was sacked as FBI Director last week.

Following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump said only that his meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was "very, very successful".

Before the Post story was published on Monday, the White House denied its claims.