Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Putin insists Trump did not pass secrets to Russia

Putin insists Trump did not pass secrets to Russia

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday that it was up to US President Donald Trump to decide what intelligence he shared, after reports he divulged top-secret data to the Russians.

"I spoke to him (Lavrov) today", said Putin with a smile.

Ushakov said "any contacts" with the US president are "important" but he would not reply to the question whether the classified information that Trump reportedly shared with Lavrov and Kislyak was valuable for Russian Federation. "It's not very nice of him".

Putin went on to say that Russian Federation was ready to provide the notes taken at Trump's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak to Congress, if the White House approves.

Speaking to Russian news agencies on Wednesday Yuri Ushakov, an aide to President Vladimir Putin, would not comment the contents of last week's talks among Trump, Lavrov and Kislyak.

Putin said the anti-Russian sentiment in America is damaging the country and not allowing Trump to govern properly. "While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn", a White House statement said.

The implication, however, is that the Russians may have a recording of some kind (audio or video) from which they would be able to produce a transcript. "They either do not understand that they are harming their own country, which means they are just short-sighted, or they understand everything, and that means that they are unsafe and unscrupulous people", he emphasized.

The New York Times, citing a current and a former U.S. official, reported on Tuesday the information Mr Trump divulged came from an Israeli intelligence asset based in IS-held territory in Syria.

The information was supplied by Israel under the condition that it not be shared with others.

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On Monday, the Washington Post reported Trump did not disclose the exact source used for the intel, but he provided "code-word information", apparently connected to an ISIS plot related to the use of laptops on board passenger aircrafts.

Said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: "He's probably glad to leave town, and a lot of us are glad he's leaving for a few days".

Two Republicans had also backed the move, they said. If there is an agent, I'm sure it's the only one.

"At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed".

"I would have no way to know that", he responded.

There are fears the reported disclosure of information gained under an intelligence sharing agreement could damage global security cooperation with the US.

Yet both sides have an interest in continuing to cooperate fully on intelligence.

David Asman said someone in the White House needs to "take charge" and stop the constant leaks from inside the White House to the press.

The former head of Mossad's intelligence directorate has contradicted Donald Trump's claim that he has the "absolute right" to share secret information with foreign officials.

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