Trump: “I never mentioned Israel to Russian Officials in Oval Office Meeting
ABC NEWS- President Donald Trump said today that he “never mentioned” Israel during his controversial Oval Office meeting with Russian officials, in which he reportedly disclosed classified information that could have compromised an Israeli intelligence source.
“I never mentioned the word or the name Israel. Never mentioned it during our conversation,” Trump said to reporters before his private meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trump was referring to his May 10 meeting at the White House with Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The president reportedly shared intelligence information from Israel about ISIS to the Russians.
He has defended his disclosure, arguing he has the right to share such information with Russia.
ABC News reported that his sharing of the information jeopardized exposing an Israeli spy who provided the intelligence on an active ISIS plot.
At a brief public appearance with Netanyahu today, Trump said he did not mention Israel at the fateful meeting.
“They’re all saying I did,” he said, “so you had another story wrong.”
In fact, there were no allegations that Trump mentioned the source of the intelligence to the Russian officials.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster, who was at the May 10 meeting, said in a press conference last week, “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”
At today’s public appearance, Netanyahu did not appear to be disturbed about Trump’s disclosure of intelligence.
“The intelligence cooperation is terrific,” Netanyahu said.
Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu was just one highlight of his busy schedule since arriving in Israel around noon local time on Monday, the second stop of his first foreign trip as president.
He made history today, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. He was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and his daughter Ivanka Trump. Donald Trump’s visit to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, pleased Israeli officials. But in preparations for the visit, a junior U.S. official commented to Israelis that the site is “not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank” — a remark that an Israeli official said was “received with shock.”
Donning a yarmulke, Trump solemnly placed his hand on the Western Wall and, after taking a few moments, left a note behind.