For the second time in a week President Trump and his White House are in full crisis mode. The bombshell revelation that Trump revealed classified information to Russian diplomats in the Oval Office last week has the West Wing struggling to do damage control. The underlying information came from a foreign ally—officials strongly suggested Israel—and were not authorized for disclosure to the Russian government, officials told the Post and other news outlets. The disclosure prompted Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert to reach out to the CIA and the NSA to inform them that the sensitive information was shared. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is pushing back on the report that Trump’s sharing of the information was inappropriate, but confirmed some of the key details—including Bossert’s warning call.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers in both parties are up in arms once again, with even GOP allies of the Administration criticizing the president’s handling of classified information. That the disclosure was to Russia has amped up pressure on the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign—which the Trump administration has continued to be frustrated by. But it has also highlighted the president’s cavalier attitude toward foreign policy on the eve of his first foreign trip, which will take him to four countries over eight days beginning this weekend.
The “downward spiral.” Sally Yates speaks out. And testimony on Capitol Hill.
Here are your must reads:
Trump Revealed Highly Classified Information to Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador
Breaching agreement with ally [Washington Post]
Analysis: Trump Intel Sharing Likely to Leave Allies Anxious
Disclosure came despite warnings [Associated Press]
Trump’s Trampling of Political Norms Spurs Strongman Comparisons
As Trump meets Turkey’s Erdogan, critics say he gives ammunition to repressive leaders worldwide [Politico]
How Presidents Normally Handle National Secrets
They have broad leeway [Yahoo]
“Obviously they’re in a downward spiral right now and they’ve got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening.” — Republican Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
“What I will tell you, is in the context of that — that — that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and — and any leaders with whom he’s engaged.” — National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster to reporters Tuesday
Bits and Bites
Sally Yates speaks [The New Yorker]