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White House Pushes Back on Reports of Intelligence Talks between US, Russia | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US President Donald Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, next to Russian Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2017 (Russian Foreign Ministry photo via AP)

Washington – White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster rejected reports that US President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials during a meeting last week.

Addressing reporters on Monday evening, McMaster said: “The story that came out tonight, as reported, is false.”

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation,” he added, referring to a meeting in Washington between Trump, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak on May 10.

“At no time — at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known,” the White House official stated.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post published an article saying that Trump divulged highly classified information in a meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak, citing anonymous former and current US officials.

The Post added that the information was related to ISIS.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, for his part, told reporters at the White House that Trump and Lavrov reviewed a wide range of issues.

“During President Trump’s meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, a broad range of subjects were discussed among which were common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism,” Tillerson said.

“During that exchange, the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations,” he added.

In a statement, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain described reports that Trump purportedly shared classified intelligence with the Russians as “deeply disturbing.”

“Reports that this information was provided by a US ally and shared without its knowledge sends a troubling signal to America’s allies and partners around the world and may impair their willingness to share intelligence with us in the future,” the US Republican senator said.