Vladimir Putin offered Wednesday to help settle the controversy over claims President Trump shared classified intel with Russian diplomats.
Railing against “dangerous” U.S. politicians whipping up “anti-Russian sentiment,” the Russian president dismissed the claim that Trump disclosed such information to Kremlin officials and offered to hand over records of an Oval Office meeting to Congress.
Speaking during a joint news conference with the Italian prime minister, Putin said those attacking Trump for allegedly being too cozy with Russian politicians were guilty of “political schizophrenia.”
Putin said – if the White House agreed – that he would share his records of a meeting Trump had last week with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in which it was reported Trump blurted out sensitive information given to the White House by Israeli intelligence. Making light of the situation, Putin said he would have to reprimand Lavrov since the alleged intelligence was never passed along to him.
“He hasn’t shared those secrets with us,” Putin said.
The former KGB operative said he wasn’t yet ready to judge Trump’s nascent presidency and would only do so “when he’s allowed to work at full capacity,” ostensibly referencing the tidal wave of legislative resistance that’s greeted most of the items on Trump’s agenda.
The White House has adamantly defended Trump’s conversations in that Oval Office meeting, saying what he discussed was “wholly appropriate.”
“It was nothing that you would not know from open-source reporting,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said on Tuesday.
Trump, in a pair of Tuesday morning tweets, also defended the information he chose to share in the meeting.
“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,” Trump wrote. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
But reports claim Trump divulged an element of the intelligence — related to an ISIS plot against air travel — that could have allowed Russia to divine the sources and methods used to gather the information. Making the sharing of intelligence with Russia particularly tricky is the Kremlin’s close relationship with Syria and Iran — adversaries of Israel.
Turning to Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election, Putin said he initially found the claim “funny,” but said Moscow is now “concerned because it’s hard to imagine what the people who produce such nonsense can come up with next.”