Trump claims 'absolute right' to share info with Russia

The information was so highly classified that it wasn't even shared with US allies and some government officials, and could jeopardize an important source of intelligence, the Post said, quoting unnamed current and former officials.

President Donald Trump defended revealing information to Russian officials, saying in a pair of tweets Tuesday that he shared "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety" and had "the absolute right" to do so.

We do know that current USA officials - possibly with the NSC and intelligence agencies - originated this story and revealed highly classified intelligence to the Post as part of their leaks.

Trump himself claimed the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so.

Trump has frequently said he wants to improve US relations with Moscow, damaged by years of disagreement over Russia's role in Ukraine and its backing for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, second left, at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

In Washington, Republicans for the most part were cautious about attacking Trump over the reports.

Two former officials knowledgeable of the situation confirmed to CNN that the main points of the Post story are accurate: The President shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister.

Nixon, as someone with actual foreign policy experience, knew that sharing such secrets would put an ally's undercover agents at risk.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorised to speak publicly, would not say which country's intelligence was divulged.

Congressional Republicans and Democrats expressed concern about the report.

The Social Democratic Party lawmaker said that if the US president "passes this information to other governments at will, then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world".

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The two top Republicans in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, were muted in their response to Trump giving information to Russian Federation.

Trump tweeted that he shared with Russian Federation "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline safety".

"Plus, I want Russian Federation to greatly step up their fight against ISIS and terrorism", he wrote. Brownlee said he hopes the meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov "is a step towards that".

As The Washington Post reported (with confirmation from Reuters, The New York Times, and Buzzfeed), Trump's loose lips "jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State", and that indeed Trump "revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies".

When a reporter offered him the chance to clarify or correct that statement after Trump said on Twitter early Tuesday morning that he did indeed share "facts" with his Russian visitors, McMaster didn't change course.

Trump later was informed that he had broken protocol and White House officials placed calls to the National Security Agency and the CIA looking to minimise any damage.

Lischka, who sits on the German parliament's intelligence oversight committee, noted that Trump has access to "exclusive and highly sensitive information including in the area of combating terrorism".

Asked why the NSA and Central Intelligence Agency were put on notice if the revelations were not problematic, McMaster cast the notification as being provided "from an overabundance of caution". The Intelligence was reportedly regarding the Islamic State and a threat involving laptops on airplanes.

The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment Monday evening. Senator Susan Collins called for the Senate Intelligence Committee to be briefed on the matter, while Bob Corker, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Monday the allegations were "very, very troubling".

Tom Bossert, Trump's assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, defended the NSA, the lead USA signals intelligence agency. "I have people brief me on great intel every day", he said.

McMaster took to the podium in the White House Briefing Room and told reporters that he stood by his statement.

The information allegedly disclosed by Trump is sourced from an intelligence-sharing arrangement with a USA partner who did not authorize the president to pass its intelligence on to the Russians, according to the Post, which also reported that his disclosure prompted senior White House officials to place damage-control phone calls to the CIA and NSA.