Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to two Russian officials who visited the White House last week, former and current government employees told the Washington Post. The snafu involving the Russian foreign minister and ambassador came one day after the president fired the FBI director who was leading the investigation into whether Trump's administration colluded with the Kremlin.
The information Trump apparently shared with the Russians was related to the recent laptop ban on trans-Atlantic flights that the Department of Homeland Security floated last week. The US received the intel from one of its allies who had access to the inner-workings of the Islamic State, and did not give permission for that intel to be shared with Russia.
"I get great intel," Trump reportedly bragged. "I have people brief me on great intel every day."
A US official familiar with what was shared told the Post that it was "code-word" information of the utmost level of sensitivity, and that Trump had "revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies." Not only did Trump describe the intel he had, but he disclosed the city where the information had come from, which could have compromised the source.
While none of this is illegal because Trump has the right to disclose whatever he wants to whomever he wants as president, officials told the Post they're unsure if he understands the severity of what he had done. Even worse, sources said they were unclear if the president could tell the difference between classified and unclassified information.
"Trump seems to be very reckless, and doesn't grasp the gravity of the things he's dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security," one former senior official told the Post. "And it's all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia."
Trump apparently receives briefings before meeting with foreign leaders, but has previously requested that they be condensed into a single page of bulleted notes. Despite having these tailored Cliffs Notes, Trump is notorious for going off script to disastrous results. In this case, he shared information about a source gathering intelligence on the Islamic State, which would be of interest to Russia, a country that supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
"Can you believe the world we live in today?" he said, according to one official. "Isn't it crazy?"
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