Donald Trump's administration is in "a downward spiral" after allegedly leaking classified information to Russian officials, a Republican senator has claimed, joining a chorus of condemnation in Washington.
"The White House has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order," Republican Senator Bob Corker said. "Obviously they're in a downward spiral right now and they've got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening."
The Washington Post first reported that Mr Trump had released highly classified information about Isis to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week. Sources later confirmed the report to BuzzFeed News, adding that the disclosure was “far worse than what has already been reported".
The information was reportedly obtained from an American ally through a highly sensitive intelligence-sharing arrangement.
Politicians on either side of the aisle quickly deemed the reports “disturbing,” “damning,” and “almost inconceivable”.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that so-called “code-word information” is one of the most highly classified forms of intel available.
“It would be almost inconceivable that any president would let something of that nature out,” Mr Leahy said.
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
1/11 Paul Manafort
Mr Manafort is a Republican strategist and former Trump campaign manager. He resigned from that post over questions about his extensive lobbying overseas, including in Ukraine where he represented pro-Russian interests.
2/11 Mike Flynn
Mr Flynn was named as Trump's national security adviser but was forced to resign from his post for inappropriate communication with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. He had misrepresented a conversation he had with Mr Kislyak to Vice President Mike Pence, telling him wrongly that he had not discussed sanctions with the Russian.
3/11 Sergey Kislyak
Mr Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, is at the centre of the web said to connect President Donald Trump's campaign with Russia.
4/11 Roger Stone
Mr Stone is a former Trump adviser who worked on the political campaigns of Richard Nixon, George HW Bush, and Ronald Reagan. Mr Stone claimed repeatedly in the final months of the campaign that he had backchannel communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that he knew the group was going to dump damaging documents to the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton - which did happen. Mr Stone also had contacts with the hacker Guccier 2.0 on Twitter, who claimed to have hacked the DNC and is linked to Russian intelligence services.
5/11 Jeff Sessions
The US attorney general was forced to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation after it was learned that he had lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
6/11 Carter Page
Mr Page is a former advisor to the Trump campaign and has a background working as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. Mr Page met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Mr Page had invested in oil companies connected to Russia and had admitted that US Russia sanctions had hurt his bottom line.
7/11 Jeffrey "JD" Gorden
Mr Gordon met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republian National Convention to discuss how the US and Russia could work together to combat Islamist extremism should then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump win the election. The meeting came days before a massive leak of DNC emails that has been connected to Russia.
8/11 Jared Kushner
Mr Kushner is President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a key adviser to the White House. He met with a Russian banker appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December. Mr Kushner has said he did so in his role as an adviser to Mr Trump while the bank says he did so as a private developer. Mr Kushner has also volunteered to testify in the Senate about his role helping to arrange meetings between Trump advisers and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
9/11 James Comey
Mr Comey was fired from his post as head of the FBI by President Donald Trump. The timing of Mr Comey's firing raised questions around whether or not the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign may have played a role in the decision.
10/11 Preet Bharara
Mr Bahara refused, alongside 46 other US district attorney's across the country, to resign once President Donald Trump took office after previous assurances from Mr Trump that he would keep his job. Mr Bahara had been heading up several investigations including one into one of President Donald Trump's favorite cable television channels Fox News. Several investigations would lead back to that district, too, including those into Mr Trump's campaign ties to Russia, and Mr Trump's assertion that Trump Tower was wiretapped on orders from his predecessor.
11/11 Sally Yates
Ms Yates, a former Deputy Attorney General, was running the Justice Department while President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general awaited confirmation. Ms Yates was later fired by Mr Trump from her temporary post over her refusal to implement Mr Trump's first travel ban. She had also warned the White House about potential ties former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to Russia after discovering those ties during the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's connections to Russia.
Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Intelligence, echoed this sentiment, calling the disclosure “a slap in the face to the intel community”.
“Risking sources and methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians,” he tweeted.
Democratic Whip Dick Durbin called the reports "dangerous and reckless". Fellow Democrat Joe Manchin added that they appear "very damning, very damaging”.
Several other Republicans cautiously denounced the leaks, while adding the disclaimer “if true”.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a frequent critic of Mr Trump, called the reports “troubling”. Fellow national security hawk Senator John McCain called the allegations “disturbing,” but later couched his remarks, adding: “We certainly don't want any president to leak classified information but the president does have the right to do that."
Meanwhile, David Kochel, a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics, has compared Mr Trump's alleged indiscretion with Senator McCain's time as a prisoner of war. "John McCain probably revealed less to the KGB in 5+ years of torture at the Hanoi Hilton than Trump did in 5 minutes in the Oval," he tweeted.
US law permits the president to de-classify information at his or her own discretion.Reuse content