Donald Trump shared information with Russia on the spur of the moment, says White House

The White House has been thrown into defence mode

Andrew Buncombe
New York
@AndrewBuncombe
Tuesday 16 May 2017 17:02
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National Security Advisor HR McMaster says Trump's conversations with Russian officials were 'wholly appropriate'

A senior advisor to Donald Trump has said the president himself decided to share highly sensitive information with Russia - effectively a spontaneous decision made on the spur of the moment.

National security advisor HR McMaster insisted to reporters that the President had done nothing wrong by speaking to the Russian foreign minister. He also said Mr Trump had not shared anything that was inappropriate.

Yet, he suggested that the decision to share the details of intelligence about details of an Isis plot, originally provided by a third country, was that of Mr Trump alone.

"In the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he is engaged," he said.

“I stand by my statement that I made yesterday, Mr McMaster told a White House briefing.

“What I'm saying is really the premise of that article was false, that in any way the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or resulted in any kind of lapse in national security.”

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Asked directly if Mr Trump had handed over classified information, Mr McMaster refused to answer.

“We don’t say what is classified, what it not classified,” he said. “What the president shared was wholly appropriate.”

Mr McMaster was asked when the decision was made to present the details with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. Did the president spontaneously, on the spot, decided to share it?

“As you know, its wholly appropriate for the president to share information he decides is needed to advance the security of the American people,” he said.

When he was pressed about when the decision was made to share the information - reportedly details of an Isis threat to use explosives in laptops - he said: “He made the decision in the context of the conversation, which was wholly appropriate.”

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