WASHINGTON – President Trump on Tuesday described Oval Office talks during which he reportedly shared classified information with Russia’s foreign minister as “a great meeting.”
The brief remarks, made as he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were Trump’s first public statement on the latest controversy to swirl around his White House.
“We had a very, very successful meeting with the foreign minister of Russia. Our fight is against ISIS,” Trump told reporters in response to a question about whether he had revealed classified information in a May 10 Oval Office meeting with top Russian officials. “We’re going to have a lot of great success over the next coming years, and we want to get as many to help fight terrorism as possible.”
That meeting brought Trump and his senior foreign policy and national security aides into the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The Washington Post reported late Monday that Trump shared classified information obtained from a U.S. ally with the pair, and that senior White House aides reached out to the CIA and NSA to advise them of the disclosure.
After describing the Washington Post story as “false,” senior Trump aides on Tuesday pivoted to a new defense, arguing that the president had shared information in a “wholly appropriate” fashion.
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