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  1. ITV Report

Donald Trump defends Russia information sharing amid claims of leaking classified information

Donald Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (left) and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak (right). Credit: AP

Donald Trump has defended his information sharing with Russia as the president came under pressure for allegedly disclosing highly-classified details to Moscow.

According to The Washington Post, Mr Trump offered details about an IS terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft during a White House meeting last week.

The newspaper cites current and former US officials, who say the president jeopardised a critical source of intelligence on IS in his conversations with the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the US.

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore

White House officials initially denied the report, then claimed that Mr Trump didn't even know the source of the information himself.

The president took to Twitter to defend his "absolute right" to open dialogue with the Kremlin.

Moscow also denied the claims Trump had handed classified information to their senior representatives.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster speaks to the media outside the White House. Credit: AP

On Tuesday, Mr Trump posted on Twitter that the information he offered to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pertained to "terrorism and airline flight safety".

He wrote: "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."

Meanwhile, in a brief statement, Mr Trump's national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the report "is false" and "at no time" were intelligence sources or methods discussed during Mr Trump's meeting with Mr Lavrov.

He added: "I was in the room. It didn't happen."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Mr Trump discussed "the nature of specific threats" during the meeting, "but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations".

The CIA has declined to comment.

The claim made by the Washington Post comes less than a week after Mr Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who had been in charge of the investigation into the US President's campaign alleged links to Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

  • White House needs to 'bring itself under control and order'
The White House has denied the claims in the Washington Post. Credit: AP

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said the White House "has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and order."

Speaking on Monday following the publication of the Washington Post's report, Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said: "Obviously they're in a downward spiral right now and they've got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening."

Mr Corker added that the national security team is solid and doing good work, but “the chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline".

"It’s creating an environment that I think makes - it creates a worrisome environment," he said.

His comments were echoed by a top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, who described the report as “deeply disturbing".

Rep. Adam Schiff of California said “this disclosure could jeopardise sources of very sensitive intelligence and relationships we have with key partners.”

He added that it is particularly “problematic” that Russian interests, in Syria and elsewhere, are “deeply antithetical to our own.”