Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump’s consequential meeting with two of Russia’s top foreign operatives earlier this month has cast a pall over his administration, raising questions about the President’s ability to handle classified information when meeting with sometimes adversarial foreign leaders.
Who was in the meeting?
- Donald Trump — President
- Rex Tillerson — Secretary of State
- H.R. McMaster — National Security Adviser
- Dina Powell — Deputy National Security Adviser
- Missing? Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law and top aide
- Sergey Lavrov — Russian Foreign Minister
- Sergey Kislyak — Russian ambassador to the US
- A slew of other unidentified Russian aidesNo United States media were invited in for the meeting, but a photographer from TASS, the Russian state media organization, was in the room for at least part of the meeting.Aides in the White House were “furious” after photos from the meeting were tweeted by the Russian embassy in the United States even before the White House told reporters that Kislyak, the ambassador who is well known as a Russian spy, was in the meeting.“They tricked us,” an angry White House official said. “That’s the problem with the Russians — they lie.”Additionally, the meeting raised alarm bells in Washington because it came one day after Trump decided to fire FBI Director James Comey while the bureau investigated his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.The meeting itself was a personal request from Vladimir Putin.…snip…According to The Washington Post, Trump described details to Lavrov and Kislyak about how ISIS hopes to use laptop computers as bombs on planes.“I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” one official with knowledge of the meeting described Trump as saying, according to the Post, before the President reportedly relayed specific intelligence.…snip…According to US and diplomatic officials, Israeli intelligence was a source for some of the information about ISIS bomb-making capabilities that the President discussed with Russian diplomats.…snip…The White House has scrambled to respond to the news for the last 24 hours, at first denying the story, then arguing that Trump was “wholly appropriate” to discuss the information with the Russians.…snip…Trump is about to set off on an eight-day, five-country trip in his first foreign venture as president where he will have countless conversations with foreign leaders.The idea that Trump could share information gleaned in those conversations with countries that are not friendly to the United States could chill some of these interactions and make world leaders question what they share with Trump.