Speaking to the press outside the White House on Monday, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster denied the shocking allegations from a Washington Post article that said President Donald Trump had shared sensitive intelligence with the Russians in the meeting last week.
“A brief statement for the record,” McMaster began. “There’s nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people.”
“The story that came out tonight as reported, is false,” he said rather flatly.
“The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time,” he emphasized, “were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”
“Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of state,” he continued, “remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record account should outweigh those of anonymous sources.”
“And I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” he concluded. “Thanks everybody.”
Even though it is usually criticized and frowned upon by the Trump administration, the Washington Post report mentioned information from anonymous sources. However, sources later confirmed the legitimacy of the information to the New York Post, Buzzfeed, and Reuters.
Several journalists called McMaster’s statement to be an incomplete denial of the story. MSNBC’s Katy Tur tweeted, “McMaster saying “sources and methods” is a red herring. Article doesnt say Trump revealed sources and methods to Russians.”
Washington Post’s National Security Correspondent, Greg Miller, said that McMaster was “playing word games,” referring to the denial, as the report did not mention anything about President Trump revealing intelligence methods or sources. Miller further said that the administration was trying hard to “blunt the impact of the story.”
“Nor do any of these White House officials who are denouncing this story,” he added, “nor have any of them offered any explanation why if this was all so above board and not problematic in any way, why did the National Security Council coming out of this meeting feel it was necessary to contact the CIA director and the director of the National Security Agency to give them a heads up on what Trump had just told the Russians?”
According to Miller, the Washington Post ‘absolutely’ supports their reporting.