Donald Trump on Tuesday admitted he shared “airline and flight safety” information with Russia.
The US President confirmed on Twitter that he “wanted to share” information with Russia and did so at an “openly scheduled” White House meeting, “which I have the absolute right to do”.
Trump said he information concerned terrorism and airline safety, and cited “humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism”, as justification.
The confirmation comes after the Washington Post reported that Trump had revealed highly classified intelligence about an Islamic State (IS) plot in front of Russian officials during a meeting last week.
The information related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft to carry out terror attacks and was allegedly disclosed by the President to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
The Post said it wasn’t reporting what the president told the Russians, “at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.”
White House officials denounced the story, insisting no intelligence sources and methods were discussed - but they didn’t deny that classified information was shared.
Trump’s confirmation comes as the president and his team are under intense scrutiny over their ties to the Russian government.
The day before his meeting with the Russians, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, whose agency had been investigating whether the president’s campaign colluded with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.