What did Trump say? Everything we know about the President's 'leak of classified information'

The president reportedly gave up classified information from an ally about Isis

Clark Mindock
New York
Monday 15 May 2017 23:45 BST
The president is said to have given up sensitive information to Russians during an Oval Office meeting
The president is said to have given up sensitive information to Russians during an Oval Office meeting (Getty)

Donald Trump is said to have revealed highly classified information during a meeting with Russian officials, just a day after making the unusual and contentious decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey.

The news about Mr Trump giving sensitive intelligence to Russian officials, first reported by the Washington Post, quickly spread across the Internet and drew record-breaking readership to that paper’s website.

Here’s everything we know so far.

He told the Russian officials intelligence about Isis

Mr Trump reportedly bragged about knowing of an Isis threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft. Specific details haven't been published as they could have further damaged the integrity of the information.

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He also shared intelligence that wasn’t even widely shared within the US intelligence community

The information had been given to the US through an agreement with a US partnership and wasn’t supposed to be shared with Russian officials. The intelligence-sharing arrangement was considered to be so sensitive that the info was withheld from many US allies and even many within the US intelligence community.

We're not sure where the intelligence came from

It’s unclear exactly where the intelligence came from but the Post reported that the country sharing the information has access to “the inner workings of the Islamic State.”

It was very highly classified

A US official familiar with the matter told the Post that it was “code-word information,” meaning that it was one of the highest classification levels used by US spy agencies. Mr Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies,” that source said.

It was not illegal for him to share it

After all, he is the president. Technically, the US president has the power to declassify anything and everything he wants to in his position at the top of the government. It’s less clear what international laws or agreements he may have broken, if any.

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A day after Comey's firing, the timing is noteworthy

Mr Comey’s firing had several reported reasons but one of the most damning — which Mr Trump seemed to have recognised during an interview — was that he fired the former FBI director because his bureau was investigating his campaign’s ties to Russian officials (which critics say amounts to obstruction of justice). News that the president disclosed highly classified information to Russians the day after firing someone investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia raised some eyebrows, to say the least.

Trump leaking the information is very serious

The intelligence in question regards Isis and could potentially damage the ability of the United States and its allies’ abilities to identify future threats. The information could also help Russia figure out who the ally was that provided the information, or help Russia to understand American intelligence gathering techniques.

He leaked it to two very senior Russian officials

Mr Trump was reportedly boasting about his inside knowledge when he told Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov about the intelligence. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” he said, an official with knowledge of their exchange told the Post.

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