“When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” — Richard Nixon
Lawmakers are calling on President Trump to release the transcript of last week’s meeting with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador in which he reportedly revealed top-secret information, assuming the meeting was recorded and a transcript exists.
Democrats had already been asking the Trump administration to release any tapes of his Oval Office meetings after he raised the possibility that he had recorded his conversation with fired FBI Director James Comey.
But after the Washington Post published a bombshell report that Trump had shared top-secret information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, members of both major political parties joined to demand greater transparency from Trump.
Former and current U.S. officials told the Post that sharing the intelligence with the Russians endangers a relationship with a foreign government critical to the fight against ISIS, and is so sensitive that it’s been withheld from other U.S. allies.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., took to Twitter Tuesday morning to demand that Trump give the U.S. intelligence community, the American people and Congress a full explanation. He said revealing classified information at this level is “extremely dangerous” and puts the lives of Americans and those who collect intelligence for the country at risk.
The White House should make the transcript of @POTUS‘ mtg w/ the Russian Foreign Minister & Ambassador available to Intel Cmtes ASAP
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 16, 2017
The American people will be justified, Schumer said, in doubting whether Trump can handle the country’s closely guarded secrets until the administration provides an unedited transcript.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Trump is failing at his most important task as president — protecting the United States’ national security.
A week ago Trump fired Comey. Now this. It’s vitally important that Trump make public any recordings he has of talks in the Oval Office.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 15, 2017
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., argued on Twitter that though the president has the legal authority to disclose classified information, there’s a larger question about whether he should. Gallagher said the transcript should be handed over to the House and Senate intelligence committees for the sake of transparency and that he anticipates “getting a thorough account” of the meeting.
As an intelligence officer by training, I know firsthand the life and death implications of safeguarding classified information.
— Rep. Mike Gallagher (@RepGallagher) May 16, 2017
Gallagher said the United States’ allies must have the “utmost confidence” that the sensitive information they share with us is not disclosed and that it’s dangerous for Americans to believe Russia can be reliable in counterterrorism efforts.
The sooner we abandon this fantasy and…