The Kremlin has denounced as “complete nonsense” new media reports about US President Donald Trump disclosing classified information at a meeting with Russian officials.
“It is not a subject for us; it is the latest piece of nonsense. We do not want to have anything do to with this nonsense. It is complete nonsense, not a subject to be denied or confirmed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
The Washington Post recently carried a story saying Trump had done so in a meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak last week. Reuters reported similarly, citing two “US officials.”
Trump’s National Security Advisor HR McMaster denied the reports, but the president defended himself in a Tuesday Twitter post, saying he had the “absolute right” to share information with Russia due to “humanitarian reasons.”
The original reports said the information had been provided by a Washington ally and revealing it could put the US in harm’s way due to their “top secret” nature and the purported fact that Trump had refused to consult that ally before sharing it.
In his conversations with the Russian officials, Trump appeared to be boasting about his knowledge of the looming threats, telling them he was briefed on “great intel every day,” an official with knowledge of the exchange said, according to the Washington Post report.
Assistant Minority Leader at US Senate Dick Durbin has called the alleged intelligence leak “dangerous” and “reckless,” and Bob Corker, the Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described the allegations as “very, very troubling” if true.
Trump is already in hot waters over claims that his electoral campaign benefited from Russian assistance and over his recent dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing a probe into those claims.
Earlier this year, Michael Flynn was forced out of his job as Trump’s national security adviser after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had had with the Russian ambassador in late December 2016.
The conversation, which took place before Trump’s inauguration, had centered around lifting the then-president Barack Obama’s sanctions against Russia. Any discussion of sanctions at that time would have amounted to a breach of US law banning private citizens from engaging in foreign policy.