This file handout photo taken on May 10, 2017 made available by the Russian Foreign Ministry shows shows US President Donald J. Trump (C) speaking with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak during a meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C.  President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russia's foreign minister and ambassador to the United States during an Oval Office meeting last week, the Washington Post reported Monday, May 15, 2017.
AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

In Israel, Trump denies intel claim he was never accused of

Updated
It’s been nearly two weeks since Donald Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak into the Oval Office – at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin – which has proven to be controversial for all sorts of reasons. It was the American president’s intelligence leak that probably mattered most.

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We learned last week that Trump, for reasons that remain unclear, decided to share highly classified intelligence with his Russian guests. The sensitive secrets were provided to the United States by a third, unnamed country, and when the the Republican passed the intel on to the Russians, it sent shockwaves through the international community.

With this in mind, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, standing alongside the American president earlier, was asked at a brief press conference if he has any concerns about intelligence cooperation with the United States. He said he did not. At that point, the leaders were poised to be whisked off to their next event, but Trump stopped everyone because he had something to declare:
“Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel.’ Never mentioned that during that conversation. They were all saying I did, so you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word ‘Israel.’”
To put it mildly, that’s not what Trump was supposed to say.

The controversy was about the American president giving Russians highly sensitive intelligence that he was supposed to keep secret. Whether he also gave Russians the source of the intelligence isn’t important. Many of us heard rumors that Israel provided us with the information, but it’s a tangential issue.

Trump appeared to be effectively saying, alongside Netanyahu, “Sure, I divulged secrets to Russia, but don’t worry, I didn’t tell them that I received the secrets from Israel.”

Watching the clip, you can almost hear Netanyahu thinking, “Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up….”

We’re talking about an important international incident in which the Republican appears to have done real harm, and instead of staying quiet, Trump is now denying an accusation that was not made, and perhaps obliquely confirming details that were unconfirmed – in the process making a bad situation worse.

The president’s foreign trip hasn’t even reached the half-way point yet. I shudder to think what he might say towards the end of the week.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, Intelligence, Israel and Russia

In Israel, Trump denies intel claim he was never accused of

Updated