During a press conference at the White House, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster attempted to clear up any confusion regarding President Trump's alleged passing on of "classified information" to Russian officials, an occurrence that the Washington Post received a tip about from who they're calling "current and former U.S. officials."
McMaster repeatedly said that the information shared by the president to the Kremlin officials was "wholly appropriate given the purpose of that conversation." He also stressed that no U.S. representatives who were in the room during the meeting thought Trump's comments to the Russians were problematic, later adding that what the president shared was "nothing you would not know from open source reporting."
Other key points brought up by McMaster during the press briefing included his concern that the leak to the Post about what went on inside closed doors between foreign officials and the president could have potentially hurt national security. The Trump advisor also told reporters that there were a lot of important issues being discussed during the meeting, and the conversation about ISIS was but a small part of the discussions. The media in the room did not seem satisfied when McMaster abruptly ended the conference, telling them the president of Turkey would be arriving soon.
As acting National Security Advisor, McMaster was in the room when the president supposedly shared classified intel about ISIS with Russian officials. In fact, in regard to the Washington Post's bombshell article published on Monday, McMaster was the only source named by the newspaper in the piece, and he just so happens to deny that anything illicit took place during the meeting.
The Post claims that "according to current and former U.S. officials," Donald Trump let fly privileged information to Kremlin Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. However, the only "current and former U.S. officials" they actually named in their report was H.R. McMaster, and he's contradicting the version of events coming from their unnamed sources.
[Updated May 16, 2017 6:30 p.m. EST]
Following H.R. McMaster's White House press conference, news agencies and people on social media reacted all sorts of different ways, even though what was said by the National Security Advisor was nothing new compared to the comments he'd made in light of the Washington Post's initial report on May 15.
Fred Kaplan of Slate wrote an op-ed in which he declared "one of America's finest soldiers [McMaster] has been dragged into Trump's swamp of deceit," in an article titled, "The Tarnishing of H.R. McMaster".
It's plain to see that Kaplan is convinced the Post is telling the truth about Trump's meeting with Russian officials, therefore he is also convinced that McMaster is lying. He says McMaster has made a point to be honest throughout his time in Washington and now Trump has come in and ruined that transparency.
Kaplan said the security expert "flailed" during the press briefing when he told reporters that the information exchanged between Trump and the Kremlims had not been of concern to national security, but that the way in which the Post obtained their information to write the accusatory report on the president did constitute a risk to the homeland.
Kaplan says that, since WaPo's journalists opted to keep certain key information from the public when writing the report, it's apparent national security is important to them. He does not suggest that a potential reason for gaps in the report could be because it's a fabricated story.
Many people, both regular citizens and journalists, seem to feel the same about H.R. McMasters as Fred Kaplan does, hence Tuesday afternoon's press conference appears to have done little to sway those who're already convinced of Trump's guilt in this endeavor.From what Trump supporters are tweeting, they never believed WaPo's story in the first place, and McMaster's comments have only solidified their confidence that the president did nothing wrong.The Trump, Russia collusion stories are back for the time being and gaining speed. What are your thoughts on this matter? Share them with us in the comment section below!
[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]