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Contradictions by Trump create credibility gap for aides

17 Mai 2017

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Tuesday that he can't comment on whether the Israelis were the source of the information Trump reportedly shared with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in an Oval Office meeting last week.

"There's nothing the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people".

The latest political thunderclap echoed late Tuesday with multiple media outlets reporting that the president had intervened in an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of his former national security adviser Michael Flynn. "Whatever it is, Israel is going to be pulling it out right now because they are not going to take any chances that whoever they have that is this close to ISIS is going to survive for the next 24 hours", Malcolm Nance, a former US intelligence official, said on MSNBC on Tuesday.

The U.S. official said that Trump boasted about his access to classified intelligence in last week's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak.

The system for how USA secrets are classified and the rules for how they're handled derive from an executive order.

As for Comey, whom Trump fired last week, the FBI director wrote in a memo after a February meeting at the White House that the new president had asked him to shut down the FBI's investigation of Flynn and his Russian contacts, said a person who had read the memo. "Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources" in the news report, he said.

The associate who described the memo said Comey is willing to testify but wants to do it in public to ensure a full airing of events. "He wasn't briefed on the source".

One: "President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre", Conway said February 3 on MSNBC. "The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced". But with his disclosure of highly classified information to Russian diplomats, they've floundered to explain the decision.

The panel's top Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, a constant Trump critic, called the allegation of Trump pressure on Comey "explosive" and said "it appears like a textbook case of criminal obstruction of justice".

On Capitol Hill, there were signs that Republicans, who mostly held the line after Comey's ouster, were growing alarmed by and impatient with Trump's White House operation. The classified information had been shared with the president by an ally, violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with that country, the official said.

The Times reports that, according to a current and a former American official, it was information that Israel relayed to the United States.

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Meanwhile the White House, which had tried to hose down the story yesterday, has changed tactics.

The CIA is declining to comment.

There was some talk over the weekend of Trump wanting to clear house, but that's not what I'm talking about.

"What's most concerning about this is it happened on the national security side", said one Republican strategist, adding that in conversations with other Republicans, the sentiment is, "if they can't get this right, God help us".

"I think we've seen this movie before", the Arizona Republican said at a dinner to receive the International Republican Institute's Freedom Award.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, "We certainly don't want any president to leak classified information, but the president does have the right to do that".

"Disclosing sensitive or classified information that wasn't even generated by us to hostile foreign governments will not only hamper our ability to get intelligence from our allies in the future, it will also undermine our ability to collect vital information we need to pursue our interests", she said.

Asked if it would be obstructing justice for Trump to have asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, Cornyn said: "You know, that's a very serious charge".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the intelligence uproar a distraction from GOP priorities such as tax reform and replacing the health care law.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., tweeted: "If true, this is a slap in the face to the intel community".

Contradictions by Trump create credibility gap for aides