WASHINGTON – Russian President Vladimir Putin offered on Wednesday to provide a transcript of a controversial Oval Office meeting between President Donald Trump and Russia’s foreign minister to prove that Trump did not disclose classified information to the official.
Speaking at a news conference in Sochi, Russia, Putin scoffed at allegations that Trump had shared top-secret security intelligence with the diplomats as “political schizophrenia.”
“If the U.S. administration finds it necessary, we are ready to provide the record of the conversation between Trump and Lavrov to the Senate and Congress,” Putin said.
The New York Times alleged in an article published Monday evening that Trump had provided classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as well as Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a closed-door meeting with the two officials last Wednesday at the White House.
A U.S. official familiar with the matter told the Post that Trump disclosed “code-word” information, referring to one of the highest classification levels used by U.S. intelligence agencies.
Shortly after the Times article was published, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters in a hastily arranged news conference outside the West Wing that the story “as reported” is false.
“At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known,” McMaster said.
The next day, Trump defended his actions on Twitter. He said he had the “absolute right” to share details on a terror threat with the two Russians for “humanitarian reasons” and in hopes that doing so would prompt Russia to take a stronger stand against ISIS.
Putin’s offer could pressure the White House to provide its own transcript of the meeting. The Senate Intelligence Committee has demanded a briefing on what transpired at the meeting from members of the Trump administration who attended.