Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he would be willing to provide the U.S. Congress a record of President Trump’s meeting with top Russian envoys, possibly offering new details on the disclosures of reportedly highly classified intelligence information.
The remarkable offer for the Kremlin to share evidence with U.S. oversight committees came with the caveat that the request for the transcript would have to come from the Trump administration.
The Kremlin has denied reports that Trump shared classified secrets last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the United States during an Oval Office meeting. But the full extent of Trump’s comments to the Russian envoys has not been made public.
As reported first by The Washington Post, Trump in a meeting with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak shared classified information about an Islamic State plot to smuggle a bomb disguised as a laptop aboard a passenger plane. Subsequent reports have suggested the intelligence was provided by the Israeli government, and was so sensitive that it was not shared even with the United States’ closest allies.
On Wednesday, Putin denied that Lavrov had shared any intelligence with him or with Russia’s secret service, instead declaring that a “political schizophrenia” had gripped the United States and that it was “eliciting concern” in Russia.
“If the administration of the United States deems this possible, we will be ready to provide a transcript of the Lavrov-Trump meeting to the U.S. Senate and Congress,” Putin told reporters during a news conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. Putin added, “it will happen if the U.S. administration wishes so.”
U.S. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, dismissed Putin’s offer as a potentially important piece of the puzzle.
“Probably the last person the person [Trump] needs to vouch for him right now is Vladimir Putin,” he said about Russia’s offer on the CBS show “This Morning.”
He doubted the Kremlin would send anything worth trusting, saying: “Sure, send it our way. But its credibility would be less than zero.”
On Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman denied that Trump revealed classified information during last week’s meeting, while Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called the report “another piece of nonsense, and we do not want to have anything to do with this nonsense at all.”
“There is nothing here to confirm or deny,” he added.
Shortly after the Russian statements, however, Trump posted tweets saying that “facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety” were shared during the White House meeting May 10.
Trump added in the tweets that he has the “absolute right” to share the information, which was described to The Washington Post as highly classified and intended to remain only within a tight circle of allies.
“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining . . . to terrorism and airline flight safety,” Trump wrote. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism,” he added, using an acronym for the Islamic State terrorist group.
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