By JohnDempsey, WLS-AM News
(CHICAGO) South Suburban Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger is criticizing President Donald Trump, after numerous media reports that Trump gave classified information to Russian diplomats in the Oval Office.
Trump shared highly classified information with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador to the US in a White House meeting last week, The Washington Post first reported Monday.
Two former officials knowledgeable of the situation confirmed to CNN that the main points of the Post story are accurate: The President shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister. Trump did not directly reveal the source of the information, but intelligence officials told CNN that there is concern that Russia will be able to figure out the highly sensitive source.
Kinzinger, who has criticized Trump in the past, told “The Big John and Ray Show” on WLS, “That is highly irregular and highly problematic. If in fact there is an ally, and I don’t know this from any of my sources, but if in fact there was an ally that gave us information basically trusted us with this information and then willy-nilly in the Oval Office this was revealed to the Russians, which we didn’t even know he was having a meeting with, that is highly problematic.”
Kinzinger says “There’s nothing illegal about the President doing it because the President has the right to declassify anything.” But the Congressman also asks his fellow Republicans for consistency on the issue.
“You know I would just ask everybody you know and my Republican colleagues especially, you know how would we react as we’re getting more information about this, had this been President Obama or Hillary Clinton, and let’s be consistent with the President whoever it is.”
In a pair of tweets Tuesday morning, Trump insisted he had the right to share information with Russia related to terrorism and other issues. “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, Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism,” he tweeted.
Trump’s tweets Tuesday lack any mention of whether the information he shared was classified.
The Washington Post initially broke the story that Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. The report quoted sources who said the classified information had been shared with the president by an ally, violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with that country.
The Washington Post said the disclosure put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk. Trump later was informed that he had broken protocol and White House officials placed calls to the National Security Agency and the CIA looking to minimize any damage.
Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump slammed Hillary Clinton for storing classified information on her private email server.
“Crooked Hillary Clinton and her team ‘were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,’ Trump tweeted in July. “Not fit!”
@ 2017 WLS-AM News