President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russia's foreign minister about a planned Islamic State operation, two USA officials said on Monday, plunging the White House into another controversy just months into Trump's short tenure in office. It is extraordinary for a president to share such information without consent of the country that collected it, apparently violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with Israel.
Before he faced reporters, the White House distributed statements from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell disputing the Post's account.
An unnamed White House source revealed to The Washington Post late Monday that Trump had revealed "highly classified information" to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador. CIA Director Mike Pompeo was to brief members of the House intelligence committee later in the day.
"I have great confidence in our alliance", Turnbull said.
The information had come from a USA ally that had provided the intelligence on condition it not be shared, the Post said.
The turmoil overshadowed Republican legislative priorities such as healthcare and tax reform and laid bare sharp divisions between the White House and USA intelligence agencies, which concluded in January that Russian Federation had tried to influence the election in Trump's favor.
"The story that came out tonight as reported is false", he said.
He said if the USA president "passes this information to other governments at will, then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world".
"Presidents have often revealed, on their own authority (and sometimes inadvertently), secrets about collection capabilities that the Intelligence Community would have preferred to have kept secret, because such exposure tends to make such collection more hard", Nicholas Dujmovic, a Catholic University professor who spent more than 25 years at the CIA, said in an email.
But McMaster said the story isn't correct.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, the assistant minority leader, said such disclosure "may not only jeopardize our troops and our people, but the security of those who risk their lives to tell us what is actually happening". The White House vowed to track down those who disclosed the information.
The disclosure put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the disclosure on Monday. The official said Tuesday that doing so "could be a risk for our sources".
The US also maintains open intelligence sharing relationships with allies like France, Germany and Japan.
The revelation was first reported by the Washington Post.
The New York Times and BuzzFeed News published similar reports later Monday. Trump was already fending off questions about his firing of FBI Director James Comey amid an investigation of possible collusion by Trump associates in Russian interference with the US election.
He cast some of Trump's revelations as information that was available from publicly available "open-source reporting" and added that the president did not know the precise source of the intelligence he had shared, suggesting that Trump could not have compromised confidential sources.
Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman denied the report.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY also called the story "disturbing", adding, "Revealing classified information at this level is extremely unsafe and puts at risk the lives of Americans and those who gather intelligence for our country". "And the president did not discuss any military operations that were not already publicly known", he added.
Throughout the campaign, Trump repeatedly criticized his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, over her mishandling of classified information on her private email server.
The Royal Court in Jordan said that King Abdullah II and Trump spoke by phone about anti-terror cooperation and other issues Tuesday, a conversation that was scheduled last week. Trump has told advisers he's aware of a need to make changes to his White House team, though it was unclear what those moves might be or whether any were imminent.