Trump on sharing intelligence with Russians: I never said ‘Israel’

President Trump seemed to confirm during a joint appearance Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he had given some Israeli intelligence to top Russian diplomats.

As reporters filed out of the room, Netanyahu was asked about his confidence in Israel sharing intelligence with the United States after Trump had shared classified information with Russian officials during a White House visit. Trump stopped the press from exiting and shushed the room.

“Just so you understand,” said Trump, “I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel’ during that conversation. They were all saying I did, so you had another story wrong.”

“Intelligence cooperation is terrific,” said Netanyahu after Trump spoke. “It’s never been better.”

By denying he said the word “Israel,” Trump appears to have confirmed that the classified intelligence he shared with Russian officials earlier this month originated from the country he’s currently visiting as part of his international trip. Last week Foreign Policy magazine reported that Israeli officials were “shouting at their American counterparts” over the leaks.

The original Washington Post report said that Trump’s conversation “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State” and that the unnamed partner country had not given the United States permission to share the information. The New York Times reported last week that Israel had been the source of the intelligence.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster said last week that Trump’s conversations were “wholly appropriate.”

“The president wasn’t even aware of where this information came from,” said McMaster during a press briefing. “He wasn’t even briefed on the sources or method of this information, either.”

Trump himself also defended the discussion on Twitter last week, though without naming the country involved:



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